Hundreds of villagers in the Libegun Aregbe community, Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, have kicked against the demolition of their houses and shrines by officials of the state government.
The villagers said their community, which has been in existence for over 450 years, was being demolished without prior notice and payment of compensation.
The Baale of the village, Pa John Akinsola, accused the state government of demolishing residents’ properties, including shrines, without a prior notice.
Akinsola described the demolition of their houses to pave way for a housing estate as an attempt to send them into extinction.
The village head said this during a peaceful protest on Monday and decried their non-inclusion in the construction of the estate by the government.
The baale appealed to Governor Dapo Abiodun over the alleged demolition of their properties by estate developers.
He said, “The state government didn’t inform anyone in the village that it is coming for the demolition.
“Nobody had any meeting with us. We just started hearing noise from the caterpillar demolishing our properties and our shrines.
“We are calling on our governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to come to our aid. We are not angry about any estate in our community, but we should be giving a village excision as settlement.
“Our school, polling booth and other amenities in the community should be spared.”
Akinsola debunked the insinuation that Libegun was under Kobape area, adding that the village had been in existence for about 450 years, long before Kobape was carved out as a market.
He stated, “This village has been in existence for over 450 years and the history is there for everyone to see. We are not under Kopabe. Our founding fathers established Kobape as a market over 100 years ago; so, Libegun is far older than Kobape as a community.
“All I can tell my people is that we should remain calm; nobody should resort to fighting or anything inimical to the peace of our community as a result of this development.
“We know that this government is a listening one and I believe it will hear us and come to our aid.”
Also speaking, a resident of the village, Lateef Diyaolu, stated that the estate development in the community would have been laudable if not for the nonchalant attitude of the state government towards the original inhabitants of the community.
He opposed to the total taking over of the community for the housing scheme without proper communication and compensation from the state government.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Communications, Remmy Hazzan, faulted the claim of the villagers.
Hassan said the proposed site for the estate was acquired a long time ago and the villagers were aware of it.
He said, “I am aware of the estate development in Libegun area by the Ministry of Housing. The community’s grouse about the estate development in Libegun is not correct.
“The only building on that site was even a church, which was demolished by the last administration.
“However, the only thing I think the government can do is compensation, which I believe may have been done already.”