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Protesters shut down Ibadan as govt demolishes Ayefele”s radio station

A mammoth crowed abandoned church services to sympathize with the popular gospel singer, Yinka Ayefele over part demolition of his radio station building, Fresh FM, situated along Lagos-Ibadan by-pass.

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The demolition team which arrived the office complex  around 5 am on Sunday, according to an eyewitness started its operations, with gunshot to scare the residents away from coming out of their respective houses.

Oyo state Government had last week issued a three-day ultimatum to Ayefele, claiming the construction of the station contravened town planning laws.

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Ayefele went to court to stop the demolition.

At the expressway, trucks and small vehicles heading towards Lagos and coming into the city of Ibadan were held up in traffic that lasted for over eight hours on Sunday while many going to their respective places of worship were making u-turn.

 

Many youth ceased the opportunities to destroy some posters and bill boards belonging to a certain political party as part of the grievances against the demolition of the station.

Though,  Dr. Yinka Ayefele declined interview with press men but lamented on his Facebook account in a very short but terse statement: "Oyo state government did it at last… My pains, my sweat… So help me God," he said.

Director of Yinka Ayefele Nigeria Limited,  David Ajiboye who told reporters that the edifice has all the documents obtained from the state government for the establishment of business organization at that spot said the station had lost a new equipment worth N28million in the demolition.

Ajiboye said the Challenge-Lagos-Ibadan axis was approved by government as a business premises but was surprised that government could say it was not meant for radio station.

He said the government in its claims said the canteen and spiral staircase in the building were not in the building plan.

The director of the organisation further identified a commissioner in the current dispensation in the state as behind the crisis saying the commissioner had approached the station to stop certain programmes on the station.

He noted that the station was forced to reply him that it was only Nigeria Broadcasting corporation (NBC) that has the right to sanction a radio programme on air or close the station in totality.

He believed that the station was fair to all the political parties in the state as against the believe of the government that fresh FM was working for a certain political party in the state.

Ajiboye said court notice was received by attorney-general and Commissioner for justice on Friday on behalf of the State government which the first  hearing was expected to come up on Monday the state government embarked on demolition on Sunday without waiting for the outcome of the court proceedings.

When our correspondent arrived the station around 7:30am, the protesters were raining curses on the people behind the demolition, while many others were crying as sign of sympathy.

Some side-talk showed that many of the protesters travelled from neighbouring states to witness the actions taken by the state government.

 

A state-owned commercial bus popularly called Ajumose bus was parked at the front of the radio station which people said was deliberately parked at the spot as trap sympathizers.

One of the protesters, also resident in the area, Akeem Jabaru said the government of the day proved that it has no respect for the rule of law with its actions. 

 

He noted that the demolition was inhumane because he knew that over 200 widows are on pay roll of the station while 150 workers are receiving salaries from Ayefele monthly.

"They thought we are going to vandalise the bus so that they can begin to say Ayefele had destroyed the state property, but we have told our people never to do that. We knew it was a trap, but we will play maturely," he said.

Another sympathiser, Lanre Babatunde said going by his profession as a surveyor, he had observed that there are plots of land that was supposed to be demolished without getting to the station if truly it’s affecting the road.

Politicians in the state also visited the office complex and condemn the development.

A stalwarts of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Barrister Sarafadeen Alli, Femi Lanleyin, Hon. Dapo  Lam-Adesina,  Hon. Segun Olaleye, former governor Taofeek Arapaja, that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr Seyi Makinde.

They all described it as anti human and undemocratic, saying the crowd at the spot showed that the multitude are happy with Ayefele as against that of the government.

As at the time of this report, commissioner for information, Toye Arulogun, could not be reached.

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