Condemnations trail demolition of Yinka Ayefele Music House by Oyo State Govt.
Condemnations and outrage have been trailing the decision of the Oyo state government led by Senator Abiola Ajimobi to demolish Music House, the building owned by popular musician, Yinka Ayefele which also houses his radio station, FRESH FM in Ibadan, Oyo state.
Part of the building was demolished early Sunday morning. The operation was said to have lasted about an hour. The affected parts include the fence, the spiral staircase, front of the building and the topmost part, which serves as waiting area to Ayefele’s office.
Thousands of residents stormed the Music House building housing the private radio station on Aare Arisekola Alao Way at Challenge in Ibadan. Many of them carried placards. They sang solidarity songs condemning the government for destroying the property. Some hauled insults.
The government, last Thursday, threatened to demolish the building for allegedly contravention of the state’s building codes.
The station’s Director of Corporate Affairs and Promotions, Mr David Ajiboye, said a N28 million transmission equipment, which was reportedly delivered to the radio station last week and yet to be inaugurated, was among property destroyed.
The singer’s fans caused a traffic snarl around Challenge en route the Toll Gate as well as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The station stopped transmission for about two hours, urging the crowd not to take laws into its hands.
Speaking on the demolition exercise, Ayefele urged his supporters not to damage the mass transit bus parked in front of the Music House.
Prominent individuals who visited the station include the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Seyi Makinde; Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, of Africa Democratic Party (ADC); Sharafadeen Aliu (ADC); former deputy governor and ex-Nigerian Ambassador to Jordan Taofeek Arapaja; member of the House of Representatives for Ibadan North East/South East Mr Dapo Lam-Adeshina, Olusegun Olaleye; and Dr Wasiu Olatubosun.
The politicians described the demolition as callous.
The government, on August 13, issued a three-day notice of demolition to the owners of Music House.
Before the ultimatum lapsed last Wednesday, Ayefele filed a suit against the government before the State High Court, sitting in Ibadan and presided over by Justice Iyabo Yerima.
The court adjourned the matter till today (Monday) for hearing and ruling on the ex parte application filed by Ayefele’s lawyer Bolanle Olayinka.
Just last week, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, said the decision to demolish the structure was based on contravention of planning laws. His explanation was that many other structures that contravened the planning laws were also served with notices of demolition.
Meanwhile, the NUJ has expressed anger at the demolition of Music House in Ibadan.
In a statement last night by its National President Waheed Odusile, the union said: “We are particularly alarmed by the reckless action of the Government of Oyo State, which demolished the premises of Fresh FM in Ibadan. “For whatever reason, the destruction of the media house by agents of Governor Abiola Ajimobi was insensitive and punitive and an attempt to stifle the media.”
On his Facebook page after the demolition, Ayefele wrote: “Oyo state government did at last…My pains…my sweat…So help me God.”