The Ogun State government has reportedly carried out the demolition of a 5-storey plaza known as DATKEM plaza, situated in Ijebu-Ode. This plaza was owned by Yeye Olufunke Daniel, who is the wife of former governor Gbenga Daniel. The demolition took place within three days of receiving notification.
According to the project manager and developer, Olusegun Lawal, who confirmed the demolition in a statement on Sunday, September 10, the DATKEM plaza was an iconic and structurally sound building with full approvals. Its construction began in 2009 and was scheduled for commissioning at the end of September.
The plaza consisted of a ground floor and mezzanine level that served as a banking hall, fully equipped with bank trap doors and a CHUBB strong room. It also included a Kone elevator installed by Kresta Laurel Limited, which is another company owned by Senator Daniel.
The statement mentioned that approximately 80 brand-new split air-conditioning units, recently installed by Holomicool Nigeria Limited, were among the items destroyed during the demolition.
Additionally, a 150 KVA generator set, a transformer, a firefighting system installed by Flory Limited, and external cladding work, which was being completed by Vertex Nigeria Limited, were also affected.
Regarding the reasons cited by the state government for the demolition, Lawal explained that one of the issues raised was the perceived lack of sufficient parking space in front of the building. The plaza was located on Folagbade Street in Ijebu Ode, and it was bordered by two undeveloped streets, which the developers were reportedly preparing for paving to support parking. Additionally, negotiations were underway for the lease of an adjacent empty piece of land to enhance car parking facilities.
Speaking on the reasons adduced by the state government for the demolition, Lawal said: “Not enough parking space (front of Building is Folagbade Street, sided by two (2) undeveloped streets which are being prepared by the Developers to be tarred to support parking while the empty piece of land at the back is being negotiated for lease to complement car parking.
He noted: “Inadequate Muster Point: Muster point is any space outside the building where people can gather in case of fire or emergency. There is ample space around the building that can be used as Muster Point.
“Inadequate Airspace. This is a new one. But there is enough airspace as there is no single adjoining building around the 4 sides of the building. There is also no concrete fence but only metal grills to ensure proper airflow.
It must be noted that there are other buildings in the vicinity that do not even come close in terms of compliance on safety matters.
“All this information is known by the relevant personnel of Government in ongoing discussions. 4. Notice of demolition by government: 3 days
“5. Demolition started at 3 am Sunday 10 September, 2023 and it is ongoing as we prepare this preliminary report. Building cost is around N1b.”
Lawal further informed that the notice of demolition was just three days, adding that the bulldozers of the government moved in at 3 a.m. on Sunday and were still working at the time he issued the statement.
He put the cost of the building at N1 billion, with about 100 workmen, who are Nigerians, on the site.
Lawal added that the third floor of the plaza was to house the Ogun East Senatorial District office of Otunba Daniel, adding: “There are no single structural defects on the building and ALL relevant and necessary government approvals have been obtained.”