The Zumratul Jamiu Muminu Society of Nigeria has asked the Federal Government to look for a new location for the proposed interchange at the Pakuro/Lotto area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in the Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Our Correspondent had reported that over 300 buildings had been marked for demolition to pave way for the interchange.
The Islamic organisation said its schools and members’ buildings were among the structures marked for demolition, alleging that neighbouring religious premises, including those of the Deeper Life Bible Church and the Redeemed Christian Church of God were excluded from the planned demolition.
The leader of the society, Abdulraheem Bello, who lamented that thousands of students would be deprived of their rights to education if the society’s structures were destroyed, urged the government to take the interchange to another location that would not affect many lives and properties.
He stressed that if the government override the society’s interest by demolishing its structures, God would punish the country.
Bello said during a protest on Thursday, “When the representatives of the Federal Government came to mark our schools and residential buildings for demolition, we stopped them because they could not provide any document to that effect. Since then, we have been taking steps to tell the government that we want the interchange to be taken to somewhere else that will not affect the lives and properties of people.
“The government cannot say there are no other locations for the interchange; it should leave us alone here. We have thousands of students in our nursery, primary and secondary schools and we have parents, teachers and thousands of followers of our Islamic movement living here as well. If the government says it does not want us here again, where does it want us to go?
“If the government uses its power to destroy our schools and buildings, and force us out of this place, the God that we serve will fight our battle. What happened in Sodom and Gomorrah will repeat itself in this country. But we don’t want destruction, we want peace. Even if the government gives us trillions of naira to leave this place, we will reject it, because this is where God wants us to be.”
The Headmaster of the primary school, Abdulwahab Abdulkabiru, said the government should construct a flyover on the road instead of an interchange that will destroy a lot of properties.
He alleged that the interchange should have been constructed at the Car Park ‘C’ area but was relocated to the Pakuro/Lotto area to prevent damage to the RCCG structures there.
Abdulkabiru said, “Initially, we did not hear anything about the interchange, but all of a sudden, Julius Berger officials and representatives of the government started marking buildings for demolition. Our schools will be affected and my personal house will also be affected. During our community development association meetings, we gathered that the RCCG requested a flyover, but the government came up with an interchange.
“We also discovered that the interchange was supposed to be constructed at the Car Park ‘C’, but due to the damage it will cause to the Redeemed Church, the government redirected the interchange to the Pakuro/Lotto area. This is very bad; we have been here for the past 30 years and we have our Certificate of Occupancy; we have our schools and families here.”
Calls put through to the Federal Controller of Works for Lagos, Ademola Kuti, rang out, while a text message sent to him on the issue had yet to be replied as of the time of filing this story.