DATKEM Plaza Is Not An Illegal Structure, the Building Approval Plan was duly Approved by the Ogun State Government in 2009- Management


We read with utter dismay and bewilderment a post vandalisation narrative attributed to one Engr. Olayiwola Abiodun, said to be the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development trying to justify the wanton destruction of the Datkem Plaza on Folagabde Street, Ijebu Ode in the dead of the night of Sunday 10th of September, 2023.

The fact that the writer could not append his or her name nor sign off on the content but only attributed to a Permanent Secretary is sufficient enough not to accord it any response, but for the unsuspecting members of the public who are keenly following the event, it has become important to make some explanations.

1. The content which were mainly circulated on the social media and published by some online media tried to justify the midnight brigandage of the agents of government or persons believed to be working for certain persons of interest in, or carrying the Orders of the Ogun State Government under the Mr. Dapo Abiodun led-government, declaring the DATKEM Plaza, Ijebu Ode as an illegal structure without an approved plan.

*Our response:*

*This is absolutely untrue, and by their own admittance this is also contradictory. In the said release they admitted that _"DATKEM Enterprises Limited submitted application for an office building, located along Ibadan Road, Ijebu Ode in 2009 with registration number CB/05/299/2009"_*. We think this has paid a lie to the faceless submission that the building was illegal _"without an approved plan"._ For emphasis: the correct *Approval Number* is: *APN:CB/05/299/299*


2. They also claimed that _"The structure... contravened the state’s physical planning laws... violated the building codes of the state with numerous defects."_

*Our response:*

*Since it has been established that the building has an approval, we seek to know the specific "physical planning laws"  and "building codes" that were violated. There were no specific structural defects referenced in all the communication between the builders and the state government and we shall return to what were references shortly. We are equally aware that following the illegal vandalisation of the DATKEM Plaza, efforts are being made to doctor the books and records of the urban and physical planning department to look for something they could use to justify the illegal action. Hence, the statement that _"the Ogun State Government will not fold its arm and allow and such occurrence."_*

3. _"...for a commercial building of that status, there must be parking space to accommodate vehicular traffic within and outside the facility for workers and visitors. The provision of the law is for 45 to 50 per cent of available land for construction as a buildable (sic) area."_

*Our response:*

*Those who have visited the premises will attest to the fact that the building is facing Folagabde Street, Ijebu Ode, while on both sides of the building there are undeveloped streets and at the back there is a vacant plot of land which even the government agents are aware is being negotiated to be purchased as additional parking spaces.*


4. _“The proposal was for five (5) floors with airspace of 3 metres at the right, 5m at the left, 5metres at the rear and a setback of 32.5516 metres to the middle of Ijebu Ode/Ibadan road, Ijebu-Ode._

 *Our response:*

*The approved plan for the Plaza was for six (6) floors contrary to the claims in the said release. It therefore suggests that the building volume and density was reduced from six  (6) floors as originally approved to five (5) floors by the builder. And this is largely due to cash flow and the non economic viability of the location.*

5. _"... the construction on site did not conform with the plan granted as there was a deviation from the airspaces and setback._

*Our response:* 

*The so-called airspaces will matter only on high fenced premises. As said earlier, the Plaza was bordered on both sides by undeveloped streets and there are no buildings immediately on both sides, there is also no building at the back of the building which leaves enough air space.*


6. _“In addition, the building had been modified and enlarged with an additional storey building at the back thereby becoming over density._

*Our response:*

*The so-called "additional building" is the Generator House and the Electrical Panel room on top which does not in anyway obstruct the building plan.*

7. _“However, the developer wrote an appeal for unsealing, which was considered so as to evacuate the belongings in the premises. Thereafter, quit notice with Serial No. 0030750 was served on 31st August, 2023._

*Our response:*

*We think the people of Ogun State needs to be told what the demand for and the request for the payment of five hundred thousand (N500,000) on the 8th of August, 2023 for "Unsealing and Regularisation" which was duly paid and received into the government coffers is all about.*


8. _“In view of the above, since the developer had remained recalcitrant, the Zonal Town Planning Office’s recommendation for the demolition of the office building was upheld.”_

*Our response:*

*Urgent demolition can only occur when there is a life threatening situation about structural defects in a building and not about muster points, air spaces and parking spaces in a building that is yet to be habited and not in use. This also does not answer nor justify the gestapo-like operations of vandalisation in the dead of the night. On the one hand, Town Planners do not work at night, and on the second, they don't work on Sundays. Nigerians need to be convinced why such operations have to take place in the midnight by putting the lives of innocent citizens at risk.*


1. Muster Points: These are points of convergence which either situated within the premises or outside. For clarity, the DATKEM Plaza is facing Folagabde Street which is a major artery road in Ijebu Ode, and on the two sides, there are two undeveloped streets which provide sufficient spaces for such convergence in case of any emergency.

2. Parking Spaces: The building is yet to be occupied and not in use. There are sufficient spaces in the front and on both sides of the undeveloped streets as well as on the undeveloped plots at the back for which negotiations had reached an advanced stage which officials of the Town Planning department are also quite aware of.

 *DATKEM Management*

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