The Ogun State government has initiated the demolition of DATKEM Plaza, a prominent structure in Ijebu Ode.
This commercial complex holds historical significance as it belongs to Yeye Olufunke Daniel, the former First Lady of the state and the wife of ex-Governor Gbenga Daniel.
Interestingly, Governor Dapo Abiodun and Senator Daniel are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), adding a layer of intrigue to this story.
Construction and Costs
The construction of DATKEM Plaza commenced in 2009, and it was on the verge of being inaugurated at the close of September 2023. A noteworthy detail is that this impressive building came at a considerable cost, estimated at approximately N1 billion. Its imminent unveiling generated anticipation in the community.
Reasons for Demolition
According to the Project Manager and Developer, Engr. Olusegun Lawal, one of the primary justifications for the demolition was the alleged lack of sufficient parking space.
Lawal’s preliminary report points out that the front of the building faces Folagbade Street, flanked by two undeveloped streets intended for parking. Additionally, negotiations were in progress to lease an adjacent piece of land for supplementary parking.
Furthermore, other reasons cited included inadequate muster points and airspace. The building features ample space around it suitable for muster points, and there is no adjoining structure on any of its four sides.
The absence of a concrete fence, replaced by metal grills to facilitate proper airflow, doesn’t appear to justify demolition. Notably, other nearby buildings do not exhibit better compliance with safety requirements.
Urgency and Short Notice
Adding to the controversy surrounding this demolition is the astonishingly brief three-day notice provided by the government. The demolition operation was initiated at 3 a.m. on Sunday, September 10, 2023, catching many by surprise.
Features of DATKEM Plaza
DATKEM Plaza, a five-story edifice, boasts an array of impressive features. The ground floor and mezzanine house a banking hall, fully equipped with bank trap doors and a CHUBB Strong Room. Kone Elevator, installed by Kresta Laurel Ltd, facilitates accessibility within the building.
Approximately 80 brand-new split air conditioners were recently installed by Holomicool Nig Ltd. The building also houses a 150kVA generator set and transformer, with the Fire Fighting System installed by Flory Ltd. External cladding was nearing completion by Vertex Nig Ltd.
The meticulous construction was supervised by qualified and certified engineers, including Engr. A Lawal and Engr. Ibraheem Shonde.
The swift demolition of the 5-story DATKEM Plaza has raised questions about the motivations behind this decision. Notably, there appear to be no structural defects or quality issues with the building. All required government approvals were diligently obtained. Noteworthy is the fact that the third floor of the building was designated for housing the Ogun East Senatorial Office, emphasizing its importance to the community.
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