The Kwara State Government says it will soon revoke more properties that are found to be illegally acquired.
The chairman of the committee on the review of the sales of government properties, Senator Suleiman Ajadi, said this on Sunday while addressing journalists on the demolition of the Saraki Property by the state government.
Ajadi noted that the committee which was established to look into the sales of government properties from 1999 to date has recommended some properties to be taken over by the government.
According to him and contrary to the belief in some quarters, the Saraki property known as Ile Arugbo did not have any documents.
He added that the committee which submitted its report four months ago discovered that no application nor payment was made in respect of the land in question.
Before the demolition, the Saraki family house was used as a venue for political meetings when the family held sway over the Kwara Government.
Policemen, numbering about 50 were said to have gone to enforce the action at about 3:00 am on January 2 but were initially resisted by some the old women.
They later returned at about 4:00 am when the structure was eventually pulled down.
Several reactions have continued to trail the action, including that of the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, who is a member of the APC, and a member of the Saraki family.
According to her, although she had chosen to remain silent over the previous happenings in the state as part of her loyalty to the party, she felt it was necessary to speak up now in order for her silence not to be misconstrued as approval.
She condemned the manner in which the issue was approached and therefore called on members of the party “to stand up against vindictive politics, driven by envy, motivated by jealousy and practiced without integrity.”
“We have made it clear that our purpose is to serve the people. We have identified about 1,130 buildings as at today (Friday), not just in Abeokuta but throughout the state.
“In Ilaro, Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode, Ifo, Ota; places known to be flood-prone areas. Why do people build houses in flood-prone areas? If you disturb the law of nature, nature is going to fight you back viciously.
“And if nature fights you back viciously, it doesn’t care whether you die or live, whether you are maimed or you become disabled or whatever. But we, as a government, this government of Prince Dapo Abiodun, is determined to ensure nobody is involved in this disaster,” he said.
Another building has collapsed in Lagos Island during the ongoing demolition in the area.
The building, located at Egerton Square, Oke Arin collapsed on Monday afternoon trapping some persons.
Details about the collapse which comes less than a week after the Ita Faji collapse that claimed 20 lives are sketchy, but the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency confirmed it through its official Twitter account.
“The officials were on top of the building when some scavengers tried to remove the doors on the ground floor and the remaining parts of the building collapsed on them,” one of the tweets read.
It added that four scavengers sustained minor injuries and had been taken to the nearest hospital for treatment.
The demolition of the building, as well as several others around the area commenced few days after the Ita Faji building collapse had triggered outrage across the country and condemnation of the government’s inability to enforce its rules regarding structures considered to have failed integrity test.
The government, on the other hand, insisted that prior to the unfortunate incident, most of the buildings in the area had been marked for demolition.
It, however, said it failed to follow through with the process because owners of some of the houses were adamant to relocate.
The Lagos State Government has commenced the demolition of buildings marked on Freeman Street at the Ita Faji area of Lagos Island.
This follows the collapse of a three-storey building on Massey Street in the same area on Wednesday, killing school children and some other occupants of the building, while many others were left injured.
During an assessment tour of the site, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had vowed to demolish all illegal school buildings in the area.
The Acting General Manager of the State Building Control Agency, Omotayo Fakolujo, told Channels Television that officials were acting based on the governor’s directives.
He explained that most owners of some illegal structures were evading arrest despite disobeying the government’s order.
“I can say that the owners and tenants are recalcitrant, in as much as we try to evict them, they continue to evade arrest and go through the back door and we feel that this structure might go down as soon as possible and that is why we have to bring it down today.
“There is a lot of legal tussles that relate to demolition. For this one, we just had a clearance from the court last week. We are moving to Smith, Palm church and Adeniji Adele where we have marked over 20 structures for demolition.
Fakolujo added that the government was also trying to evacuate occupants of most of the structures about to collapse.
“Like we have said, we have been carrying out a lot of integrity tests on the buildings in this neighborhood and as you can see, some of them have been marked for demolition but we get resistance from landlords. But we must continue to save lives and we would intensify our efforts to see that those have failed our integrity test, we would ensure that they are quickly evacuated and we bring the structures down,” he said.
The collapsed building, said to be 30 years old, caved in at about 9:45 am on Wednesday, triggering outrage across the country and condemnation of the inability of the government to enforce its rules regarding structures considered to have failed integrity test.
Twenty-four hours after the disaster, the rescue agencies said they had reached ‘ground zero’ on the site, meaning that all the rubbles had been excavated and there was no evidence that anyone was still trapped.
Engineers started the delicate task of taking apart Genoa’s Morandi motorway bridge on Friday almost six months after its partial collapse during a storm killed 43 people and injured dozens.
Thousands of tonnes of steel, concrete and asphalt have already been removed from the spectacularly truncated high-rise bridge in the northern Italian port city to make it lighter before the “deconstruction” operation began.
“It’s an important day, the first step on a path that we hope will be as short as possible,” Prime Minister Giussepe Conte told journalists at the site.
Four powerful strand-jacks positioned on the bridge by an enormous crane began unhooking and slowly lowering a 36-by-18 meter (118-by-59 foot) concrete slab weighing over 900 tonnes.
The jacks are the same as those used to right the Costa Concordia cruise liner off Tuscany in 2013 after it ran aground and capsized with the loss of 32 lives.
The operation to lower the vast slab around 48 meters to the ground is expected to take at least eight hours.
Homage to the victims
The operation will help the city move on from the August disaster, which beyond the human cost also ripped out one of the city’s main transport arteries.
Italy’s most famous living architect Renzo Piano, a Genoa native who helped design the Pompidou Centre in Paris, has provided the design for the replacement bridge that “will last for 1,000 years”.
While the new structure has been designed to look different from the old one, opened in 1967, it will contain a homage to the victims of the accident.
It will feature 43 lamp poles in memory of those killed when a section collapsed during a storm on August 14, sending dozens of vehicles and tonnes of concrete tumbling to the ground.
The new bridge commission, headed by Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, noted the new design “rests on pillars, respecting the feeling of psychological aversion in the city (to) other types of the bridge with suspended or cable-stayed parts”.
It will “have elements of a boat because that is something from Genoa,” Piano has said, describing a streamlined and luminous white structure.
The new bridge is estimated to cost 202 million euros (US$229 million), making it one of the most expensive in Europe.
It is expected to be open to traffic by April 2020, junior transport minister Edoardo Rizi said on Thursday, with the demolition of the old structure due to take 190 days.
The old cable-stayed bridge was made from reinforced concrete, with the steel cables linking the bridge’s towers also covered in concrete.
One theory investigators are looking into is that the steel within the concrete had decayed, although this would not have been visible.
There have also been allegations of poor maintenance, poor design and questionable building practices.
Explosives will be used to demolish the bridge from around February 20, Genoa’s Repubblica newspaper reported.
The eastern side of the bridge, where the structure gave way, still needs to be examined by experts and prosecutors.
Autostrade per l’Italia (Aspi) operated the failed bridge and several of its managers could face trial over the collapse.
Ahead of anticipated court proceedings, Aspi is still negotiating compensation payments with bereaved relatives, reportedly for a total of 50 million euros.
For the first time in an Italian public works contract, the construction companies face stiff penalties of up to 202,000 euros a day for any delays.
Civil engineering expert Pierre Corfdir said planning the demolition of a bridge this size (over 1,180 metres) would normally take around three years.
“This is one of the most complex bridge demolitions” because of the built-up environment, said Corfdir, who works at France’s Cerema institute.
“There’s also time pressure: they have to rebuild a bridge that is of vital importance to the city’s economy.”
“To cut the long story short, this is what we got from just being professional; from just having what the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Code called ‘straight dealing’ – which has to do with honesty and integrity,” he said.
Mr Akindele wondered why the government could have carried out the action, claiming it had been coming to the media outfit for campaigns and programmes, service he said they offered at no cost in some cases.
He also faulted the government’s action, saying that there had been some interactions between the management of Fresh FM and relevant government agencies in the state before the incident took place.
Giving an insight into the demolition, the journalist said, “On Monday last week, we got a three-day demolition notice and that was to lapse on Wednesday.
“So, we were left with no choice than to begin to ask questions but before answers could be acquired, the demolition team came in the wee hours of Sunday and they did what they said they were coming to do.”
Akindele said the radio station had approached a court to stop the demolition from taking place and the court gave an injunction and ordered that the defendant should be served.
He argued that the injunction notice was served on the government through a courier agency while a signed copy was sent to them.
The Head of News claimed that some armed security operatives at the scene of the incident chased fleeing staff of the radio station back into the building while the demolition was ongoing.
He said the employees, however, forced their way out of the building through the office of their chairman.
The demolition of Ayefele’s Music House in Ibadan was condemned by individuals and groups such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
The Oyo State Government and the management of Fresh FM have disagreed over the demolition of the Music House owned by popular musician, Yinka Ayefele.
Both sides were represented by their officials on Wednesday in an interview on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast show on Channels Television.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr Toye Arulogun, explained that the structure was demolished because it was erected against the laws of the state.
He said, “Whether it’s a canteen there or whatever, that structure will still be wrong. It would still have contravened the law, so it doesn’t have anything to do with Fresh FM.”
Mr Arulogun also faulted reports that the government demolished the structure because it had issues with the radio station.
He argued that the matter was strictly official, stressing that the government had given the media outfit enough time to respond to the concerns it raised about building other structures beyond what it approved.
“There is a building contravention, there is a planning contravention, and the government gave you ample time since 2017 when this engagement started,” the commissioner said. “That land has been encroached upon.”
“The size of the land that was given to Music House is not what they are operating on. The building size measured 29.7m by 21.6m on the ground, as against 11.925m by 10.20m in the survey plan submitted by Music House. So, there is a contravention,” he disclosed.
But the Head of News, Fresh FM, Samson Akindele, believes the demolition was carried out because the radio station was performing its constitutional responsibility efficiently.
He alleged that while the exercise was ongoing, security operatives chased back fleeing staff of the radio station into the building, as they had to escape through an office.
The journalist said, “This is what we got from just being professional, from just having what the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Code called ‘straight dealing’ – which has to do with honesty and integrity.”
Although there had been some interactions between both sides, Mr Akindele stressed that the time given to them by the government was short.
He added that the radio station had approached a court to stop the demolition as soon as it got the notice, but the government went ahead.
According to him, they got “A three-day demolition notice and that was to lapse on Wednesday (last week).”
“We were left with no choice than to begin to ask questions but before answers could be acquired, the demolition team came in the wee hours of Sunday and they did what they said they were coming to do.”
The demolition of Ayefele’s Music House in Ibadan has sparked a widespread criticism from individuals and groups, as well as human rights organisations such as the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
North Korea said it had fully demolished its only known nuclear test site on Thursday, with a series of planned detonations that put the facility beyond further use.
“The Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK held a ceremony for completely dismantling the northern nuclear test ground on May 24… to ensure transparency of the discontinuance of nuclear test,” the institute said in an English language statement carried on the state-run KCNA news agency.
DPRK is the abbreviated version of the country’s official name.
“Dismantling the nuclear test ground was done in such a way as to make all the tunnels of the test ground collapse by an explosion and completely close the tunnel entrances, and at the same time, explode some guard facilities and observation posts on the site,” the statement added.
The institute said two of the tunnels in the mountain were “ready for use for carrying out very powerful underground nuclear tests at any time” before they were destroyed.
No leakage of radiation had been detected at the site during the demolition, the statement added.
Israel’s supreme court on Wednesday agreed to a government request to extend a deadline to demolish 15 settler homes found to have been built partly on private Palestinian land.
The deadline to demolish the homes in the Netiv Haavot wildcat settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank had been March 6. It has now been extended to June 15, according to a copy of the ruling.
Judges ordered the houses in the settlement, located south of Jerusalem, demolished in 2016. Some 50 families live in the settlement.
On Sunday, Israel’s government approved a plan aimed at legalising Netiv Haavot, though not the houses under a court order to be demolished, with the aim of eventually building 350 homes there, according to Israeli media.
The plan approved also reportedly includes some 60 million shekels ($17 million, 14 million euros) in compensation for the settlers living in the homes to be demolished and to provide temporary housing for them.
All Israeli settlements are viewed as illegal under international law, but Israel differentiates between those it has approved and those it has not.
Settlements not approved, such as Netiv Haavot, are referred to as outposts and residents hope to one day be granted authorisation.
Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War. Settlements there are seen as major stumbling blocks to a peace deal since they are built on land the Palestinian wants for their future state.
Some 600,000 Israeli settlers live among nearly three million Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Prominent members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition openly oppose a Palestinian state.
The Kaduna State Government has once again defended the demolition of a factional secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The Commissioner of Finance in the State, Mr Suleiman Kwari, dismissed the claim in some quarters that Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s administration simply clamped down on the building out of political motives.
“It is not to say that politics is what has led to this situation,” he said having appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
Kwali, however, reiterated the vision of the state government in getting rid of substandard structures that could attract street hawking among several other activities in the state.
He explained that the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KASUPDA) is vested with the powers to ensure that the purpose for which land is allocated to someone is being served rather than an entirely different purpose.
“This is actually a way of executing the mandate of the agency,” the commissioner said.
“It is towards this that whatever land is allocated, the allottee develops such land within the allowed limits of development and all lands allocations are tied to specifics.
“Specific ways of executing the construction, specific requirements in terms of what one should be doing to ensure that land that is allotted to him remains his own which includes the payment of ground rent or the land use charge,” he added.
The state government has come under heavy criticism following the pulling down of the building located at 11B Sambo close in the state capital on Tuesday.
APC’s factional secretariat was opened after the suspension of the Senator representing Kaduna north district, Suleiman Hunkuyi and expulsion of 28 other members for anti-party activities.
In its reaction, the faction described the demolition as ‘a deliberate act of terror,’ saying it showed the intolerance against the opposition by Governor El-rufai.
The Kaduna State Government has defended the demolition of a building which was being used as the secretariat of a faction of the All Progressives Congress in the state.
The demolition of the building on Tuesday morning has caused a political storm as it comes just days after the faction of the party emerged and announced that it had suspended Governor Nasir El-Rufai from the party.
But the state government insists it has nothing to do with politics.
The Director-General of the Kaduna State Geographic Information Service (KADGIS), Mr Ibrahim Husseini, said the building was brought down as part of an exercise to rid the state of illegal structures, tackle street trading and restore order across the state.
“This morning a building on 11B Sambo Close was removed for flagrant violations of land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010,” Mr Husseini said.
“This illegal violation of use had begun to distress neighbours who were being forced to endure an influx of thugs and blockage of the road.”
The KADGIS DG explained in a statement that due process was followed and that the state government only revoked the land on which the building was cited after the owners failed to pay land charges and comply with government directives.
He said, “Since 2016, the government has been taking action on various land-related matters, including revoking all undeveloped land titles in the state and directed that all abandoned buildings be developed within three months of the notice.
“The Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS) issued a revocation notice of the statutory right of occupancy No. KD. 16712, that covers 11b Sambo Close in the Ungwan Rimi area.
“The appropriate notice of revocation was delivered at 28 Inuwa Wada Road, the registered address of the company that held the title to the property. The notice was also delivered to the building in question and sent by post to the registered address of the previous title holder.”
After revoking the land, Husseini said, the state government allocated it to the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency “for the purpose of developing and maintaining a public park that will provide a green area and a serene place for recreation in that residential neighbourhood”.
The government warned all title owners to comply with the terms of the allocation or risk suffering a similar fate.
“The purpose of allocation of land cannot be wilfully altered; neither can title holders lawfully neglect to pay their ground rents,” it said while calling on residents to support it in getting rid of poor structures in the state.
‘Act of terror’
The affected faction is not buying the explanation of the state government, however, and has described the demolition as ‘an act of terror’.
The group had opened the parallel office at 11B Sambo close in the state capital on Thursday last week after party in the state announced the suspension of the Senator representing Kaduna North district, Suleiman Hunkuyi, and expulsion of 28 other members for anti-party activities.
A Chieftain of the APC loyal to the new faction, Mikaiah Tokwak, told Channels Television that the action had given credence to their insistence that their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freely associate was under attack.
The Senate has also condemned the demolition of the secretariat.