Indications emerge on Wednesday that the Oyo State Government may finalise plans to bulldoze popular gospel musician, Yinka Ayefele’s Music House today.
The Music House valued at N800m is constructed on a plot of land on Lagos-Ibadan bye-pass in Challenge area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The government issued a notice for the demolition of the building, saying the property owner had allegedly ignored its requests for the owner to obey its notice.
The three-day notice lapsed yesterday.
The building houses Ayefele’s Fresh FM, which is among the top private radio stations in the state.
The Director of Corporate Affairs and Promotions, David Ajiboye, stirred the controversy when he wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday evening that the demolition notice was issued because “the staff canteen in the premises was not approved, the spiral staircase was not in the approved plan, the mast was not in the approved plan and the fence was not in the approved plan”.
Ajiboye added: “…Therefore, the entire N800 million edifice where almost 150 people make their daily bread has to go down. You are all invited to the demolition show at the Music House tomorrow.”
Expectedly, the post generated criticisms of the planned exercise across Ibadan.
But in a statement, the government said the demolition notice to Music House, Fresh FM 105.9 Ibadan was not based on sentiments or witch-hunting.
It said contravention notices were served to different organisations since June 14, last year, including all radio stations in the state.
The government said Music House ignored its request for an application for a new building plan, having established, through an inspection, that the building violated its original plan.
The statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, also said property owners were deviating from the originally approved building plans without seeking physical planning approvals from the State Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control.
The commissioner said the government decision to demand for the building approved plan was not peculiar to Fresh FM.
He said several companies and institutions, such as the University of Ibadan (UI), Kola Daisi University, University College Hospital (UCH), banks and radio stations, were similarly asked to provide their approved plans.
According to him, the government recently demolished several banks’ ATM extensions and some local government structures.
Arulogun said the letter to Fresh FM was received by Bamiduro Aderonke and a reminder letter, dated August 18, last year, was sent to the radio station to request for the planning approval/permit for the radio station, in line with the Oyo State Physical and Development Control laws.
Under the statute, the commissioner said the radio station was expected to forward the approved building plan to the bureau within seven days.
He added that a copy of the letter was received by Adebisi Akinfunmi on August 21, last year.
Arulogun said the submitted building approval was meant for an office complex and not a radio station, thereby contravening the Oyo State Physical Planning and Development Control laws, sections 30, 31 and 32 of Oyo State Physical Planning and Urban Development Law of 2012.
The commissioner recalled that the submitted approval from Music House deviated from the approved plan, which made the approval null and void because deceitful information was given to the approving authority and deviation from the approval granted in construction and use.
Arulogun said it was discovered that apart from the change in the use of the building, spatial standards in setback, airspace and parking spaces were found to be grossly inadequate.
The commissioner recalled that a letter was sent to Music House on June 29 to submit a fresh building plan application that would reflect existing structures on site.
He added noting that the radio house “deliberately” ignored the letter, as there was no response from the owner’s end till date.
Arulogun noted that the deviant posture of the radio station prompted the bureau to serve a three-day demolition nNotice on August 13, which expired yesterday.
The commissioner said the government had also received petitions arising from three fatal accidents that occurred around Music House in the last nine months.
He said the petitioners urged the government to look at the physical structure of the organisation in relation to the dual carriage way which could easily cause accidents.
Arulogun emphasised that the government would follow due process in accordance with the laws of the land but would not dignify or elevate the recalcitrant attitude of Fresh FM.
Also, Ayefele yesterday described the state government’s claim on the demolition notice served against his building as a mere excuse to defend its hidden plan to pull down the property.
In a personal statement in Ibadan, Ayefele, who is the Chairman/CEO of Yinka Ayefele Limited, said the construction of Music House followed due process.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a purported press release by Mr Arulogun …that the Music House complex contravenes planning laws and is responsible for three fatal accidents that occurred on the road in the last nine months on which the government had received petitions.
“We want to make it clear that Music House followed due process in the construction of the building and got relevant approvals from state departments and agencies associated with land and buildings.
“Saying that Music House complex is responsible for three accidents that occurred on the road in the last nine months is just an attempt by the commissioner to run away from his shadow. How can a reasonable person say that?
“It is not news that the governor himself said some politicians came to him to demolish the Music House complex because Ayefele is not in their camp and he also sang against them…”