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Ogun state 32 kilometre road of pains and tears

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Inside Ogun’s Abandoned 32 Kilometre Road Where Owners of Demolished Properties, Businesses Have Become Helpless, Hapless

Three decades after it was first conceived, the 32-kilometre Sango-Agbado-Akute-Alagbole-Berger Road means excruciating pains for property owners, with the government itself undecided about how best to carry the burden of a route that has thrown people into life-threatening hardship.

Residents, property and business owners of the entire stretch of Ota-Agbado-Olambe-Akute-Alagbole Road in Ogun state recount their losses, as they never envisaged their properties and sources of livelihood would be taken away from them.

Seventy-years old Elder Abdulrauf Fatunibi, the immediate past chairman of the Ogunlowo-Alagbole community and a landlord, while speaking with the NPO Reports, recalled the sad moment when his building, which had 14 rooms and mainly put out for rent as shops, were bulldozed.

Narrating on the verge of shedding tears, Fatunibi said that in 2016, government officials initially came, claiming they wanted to work on the roads.

But it was suspended, and then they later came again in 2017, marked buildings and gave them a notice of demolition.

However, just three days after they were notified of the demolition, the exercise began with Fatunibi’s building affected.

This plunged him into emotional instability, depression and frustration.

He recalled how he was assisted and consoled by a neighbour who accommodated him for a period till he could find his feet again as he said he almost committed suicide.

He further told the NPO Reports, “My building was demolished! Fourteen rooms! We didn’t get a dime from the government.

“We protested, all to no avail.

“They told all of us that were affected to come to Abeokuta, but we didn’t get anything afterwards.”

The NPO Reports, however discovered in the course of this report that many buildings had indeed been demolished in the same manner under the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, with the road project abandoned for years.

There are many others, like Fatunibi, who have been plunged into the same heart-wrenching experiences of financial instability, agony, depression and despair.

Another resident (who however, preferred not to be named), further took the NPO Reports down his own journey of the loss.

He confirmed the demolition, explaining that he also had four shops which were all affected by the demolition. However, he said that they were instructed to fill out forms for compensation, stating the amount they wanted but were still not compensated after the struggles.

With teary eyes and a trembling voice, he narrated that since he retired from his job in November 2016, he has not had any other means of livelihood aside the money his wife makes from the wares she sells to people in the neighborhood.

He stated that he used to receive rent on his four shops before the demolition, but after the buildings were brought down, he had to use the rent of three years to reconstruct another shop, moving it backwards, for the tenants who were occupying his building at the time. He has not collected any more money from the tenants ever since.

Apart from the pangs of losses, many residents are burdened by the environmental challenges the mass demolition has brought upon them.

“It gets dusty during the dry season, and the roads become slippery during raining season. During both seasons, life is miserable,” he said

Despite all efforts and struggles to secure their compensation for lost properties, all have proved abortive, the CDA Chairman, Bisi Badejo, confirmed this to the NPO Reports.

He explained that they have not gone to meet the present administration officials of Governor Dapo Abiodun to push for the compensation. Their reason for this is that it was not his administration that commenced the demolition and left it halfway.

He said that part of the innumerable losses since the loss of their properties is that the sizes of their lands have reduced; sources of livelihood have been lost, and the values of the buildings have drastically gone down.

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