In a startling turn of events, DATKEM Management, the proprietors of DATKEM Plaza, located on Folagabde Street, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, have come forward to refute claims of illegality surrounding their building.This controversy emerged following the recent midnight demolition of the Plaza on Sunday, September 10, 2023, allegedly ordered by the Ogun State Government.
The controversy began with a post attributed to Engr. Olayiwola Abiodun, purportedly the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development. The post, circulated mainly on social media and some online media outlets, attempted to justify the demolition, claiming that DATKEM Plaza was an illegal structure without an approved plan. In response to these allegations, DATKEM Management has presented a compelling argument refuting the claims made by the Permanent Secretary:
Approval Plan: DATKEM Management asserted that DATKEM Plaza building had a duly approved plan, revealing that Approval Number APN:CB/05/299/2009 was granted by the Ogun State Government. This contradicts the assertion that DATKEM Plaza was “illegal” and “without an approved plan.”
Building Code Violations: The government’s claims of physical planning law violations and building code contraventions were challenged by DATKEM. They requested specifics of these violations, as no structural defects had been identified in the correspondence between the builders and the government.
Parking Space: The requirement for parking space was defended by DATKEM Management, pointing out that the building’s location, facing Folagabde Street, Ijebu Ode, provides sufficient undeveloped areas for parking spaces on both sides and at the rear.
Deviation from Plan: The government’s claim that the building deviated from the approved plan was disputed. DATKEM clarified that the originally approved plan was for six floors, not five, suggesting that the building’s volume and density had been reduced by the builder.
Airspaces and Setback: Regarding airspaces and setbacks, DATKEM argued that these factors only matter on high-fenced premises. With undeveloped streets on both sides and vacant land at the rear, they believe there is adequate airspace.
Additional Building: The existence of an “additional storey building at the back” was explained as the Generator House and Electrical Panel room, which does not obstruct the approved building plan.
Unsealing and Regularization: DATKEM questioned a demand for N500,000 for “Unsealing and Regularization” made on August 8, 2023, which was paid to the government. They sought clarification on the purpose of this payment.
Demolition Justification: Finally, DATKEM Management questioned the urgency of the demolition, stating that demolitions should only occur in life-threatening structural situations, not over muster points, airspaces, and parking spaces. They also criticized the midnight demolition operation, emphasizing that town planners do not typically work at night or on Sundays.
This dispute raises significant questions about the legality and justification for the demolition of DATKEM Plaza, with both sides presenting conflicting narratives. As investigations continue, the people of Ogun State await further clarification on this contentious issue that has captured public attention.