By Dayo Johnson
AKURE—REFUSAL by the Ondo State government to compensate over 2,500 landlords and owners of houses whose buildings will be demolished to pave way for the dualisation of the ‘A’ Division- Ijoka-Akure Road in Ondo state has led to a collision course.
The state government has refused to commence the payment of compensation to the affected landowners.
They accused the state government of attempts to reduce the compensations despite assurance that adequate compensations would be paid even to owners without Certificate of Occupancy.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had, eight months ago, flaged-off the dualisation project amongst other projects to mark his first year anniversary in office.
23 projects were flagged off across the three senatorial district of the state while 18 other projects were commissioned during the one year in office.
One of the projects was the construction of fly over across Benin – Lagos Expressway Road at Ore and the dualisation of A Division to Ijoka with Spur to Alaafiatayo Roundabout and lnvestment Junction.
Speaking on behalf of the owners, Messrs Ajayi Ayoola and Stephen Akinola said they were not in agreement with government on payment after the demolition exercise.
They said: “Commencing the project without adequately compensation paid to them would subject them to untold hardship. We all knew what happened when the Arakale road was dualised during the immediate past administration. Compensations were paid before the bulldozers were brought to the road.”
However, while assessing the structures to give way for the project, Governor Akeredolu, said the demolition and dualization work would commence from the state High Court corridor of the road.
Chairman of the Corridor Acquisition Committee and Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Lands and Housing, Mr Alex Aragbaye, said the government was acquiring 40 meters of the road corridors from both left and right.
Aragbaye said that compensation would only be paid to property owners after demolition, adding that they would receive their compensation whether or not they have Certificate of Occupancy.
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Taiwo Otun, said the dualization would be done in phases from A Division to Olukayode roundabout – Alafiatayo Junction, another phase to Oluwatuyi roundabout down to Ijoka.
He said the contractor is starting with demolition of government owned structures to set out corridors for the dualization.
Reacting to the delay in the commencement of work on project flagged off eight months ago, governor Akeredolu said he is not unaware of the fears expressed by the people that projects flagged off may have been abandoned.
He said: “We want to have a flyover in Ore. We will do it but, the Benin/Lagos expressway is a federal road. Ore road is a federal road.
“We can’t go ahead and do it without getting the approval of the Federal Government. We wrote to the Federal Government because we expected them to pay us back when we finally finish the road but they wrote us back, and said they are not going to pay us back. They didn’t even tell us if we should go ahead.”
Parties knock Ondo govt
Political parties in the state have equally expressed concern over the delay in the mobilisation of contractors to site by government.
The state Publicity Secretary of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Mr. Remi Olayiwola said: “The inability of the APC government in Ondo State to embark on the implementation of various projects it launched with funfair eight months ago is an obvious deceit of the electorate.
“Indeed it is a glaring case of un-preparedness of the APC to govern the state. If one looks at the various sectors in the state so far you would see that the state is far worse than the APC met it.”
Also, the state chairman of the Mega Party of Nigeria MPA, Biyi Poroye said: “The party is not surprised because we knew it that if flag off of projects can be used to celebrate one year in office without any projects to be commissioned, implementation of those projects will have to wait for the celebrations of second year in office.”