12th October, 2011
Illegal occupants of the Government Reservation Area (GRA) at Abere, near the State Governorâ€™s Office in Osogbo, have continued to defy governmentâ€™s quit order.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the area, which is an extension of the governorâ€™s office, measures up to 20 hectares of land.
NAN also reports that iIlegal residential and business structures mounted by unauthorised developers are scattered all over the place while some have converted some portions into farmlands.
In spite of several quit notices issued by the state government in the past, the encroachers have remained recalcitrant, claiming ownership of the land.
It was also gathered that officials of the Ministry of Land on survey assignments could not gain access to some parts of the land, except with police escort.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Sunday Akere, in an interview said the land belonged to government and that the ownership was not negotiable.
â€œAnybody who decides to defy the order of government will have himself or herself to blame at the appropriate time.
â€œGov. Rauf Aregbesola’s administration will never be part of the illegality and that is why there is the need to study the situation well before taking any action,â€ he said.
According to the commissioner, appropriate action would be taken at the appropriate time after government must have explored all peaceful avenues to recover the land.
Mr Kolade Adetunbi, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, told NAN the problem being posed by the illegal occupants had become worrisome.
Adetunbi explained that the issues surrounding the development continued to be compounded by those who have continued to lay claims to the area.
He however said the ministry was only waiting for governmentâ€™s approval to enable it embark on the demolition of the illegal structures.
Adetunbi, who described the situation as a disturbing trend, said the demolition request had since been forwarded to the state government for consideration.
He said the present state government was only trying to be careful not to hurt the peopleâ€™s feelings in view of the untold hardship a demolition exercise might cause.
Some of the illegal occupants however told NAN that they bought portions of the land where they were occupying from the natives who claimed ownership of the place.
The respondents, who wanted to remain anonymous, however said if government was ready to compensate them, they were ready to quit the place.
However, NAN gathered from the ministry that government would not pay compensation on illegal structures.
“It is not right, and considering the number of these people who have encroached, it can be very burdensome,” a ministry official said.