From Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Government made good its warning to commence demolition of houses to pave way for flyovers in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
Some house owners in Okesa area of Ado Ekiti, yesterday, wore long faces and expressed sadness over the commencement of the exercise already forewarned by Governor Ayodele Fayose a few weeks ago.
The demolition exercise, which was personally supervised by Fayose, started at about 4.30 pm and continued till dusk with many buildings reduced to rubbles.
It started at Fajuyi area where structures, including the fence and security post of the state High Court Complex, Cathedral Church of Emmanuel (Anglican Communion), were marked for demolition.
The affected buildings included many shops in the Police Officers’ Wives Association (POWA) Shopping Complex which had earlier been marked for demolition weeks before the exercise commenced.
The demolition exercise was halted temporarily when the rains started at about 5.40 pm, but continued after the rain ceased till it became too dark.
Many of the landlords and home owners had started removing their roofing sheets and other properties over the weekend through Wednesday afternoon, after entreaties to convince the state government to halt the demolition failed.
Some of the residents staged a peaceful protest last Thursday and claimed they had nowhere to go and that government reneged on an initial agreement of only 15 metre setback and, instead, came out with a new benchmark of 30 metres to the main road.
The protesters said “the demolition will render many old people living and trading in the buildings homeless and turn them to refugees in their home land.”
Some of the affected landlords said they were not paid compensation by the government.
Others, who had extended structures to their original buildings, were among those who were not compensated.
Regardless, one of the landlords, whose demolished building had six shops, confirmed he was paid, but complained that the compensation of N500,000 was too small.
It was also learnt that some of the demolished shops had been leased for many years to Igbo traders who had been displaced by the demolition.
The demolition was supposed to have commenced on September 12, but was halted because it fell on Eid el Kabir day.