The Oyo State Government has declared that some abandoned structures and properties are constituting security threats and serving as hideouts to criminals, calling on owners of such buildings to put them to use or risk the government taking them over.
The state’s Commissioner for Lands, Housing, Survey and Urban Development, Mr. William Akin-Funmilayo, gave the warning on Tuesday, when he inspected De Castle Inn on Queen Elizabeth II Road, Total Garden-Gate Road, Ibadan.
Akin-Funmilayo, who decried the rate at which miscreants and hoodlums had been using abandoned buildings as hideouts, said owners of such buildings who refuse to do the needful must be ready to forfeit them to the state.
He added that the government would make proper use of the structures for the benefit of all residents of the state.
The Commissioner, speaking shortly after the inspection tour of De Castle Inn, said the government got information from the public and security agencies that the structure had been constituting a security threat to the environment, as criminals and hoodlums usually hid there.
The security guards on duty, who addressed the Commissioner, said the hotel had been abandoned for over 10 years and had become a haven for the men of the underworld.
They claimed that the owner of the hotel is out of the country.
One of the security guards said: “The structure has been abandoned for about seven to 10 years.
“Hoodlums and miscreants do come here. I have been attacked here. The miscreants even removed some house fittings, equipment, and other accessories.”
In his response, the Commissioner said correspondence would be sent to the owner to make use of the structure immediately or it would become a property of the state government.
Speaking with journalists after the inspection, the Commissioner said: “I got information from the public and security agencies that this abandoned building is constituting a security threat to this environment and that in the night, criminals and hoodlums usually hide there.
“They go on the streets to snatch telephones, bags and other valuables from passers-by. Even additionally, it has become a home for illicit drug users whereby they trade in the illicit drugs as well as smoking different kinds of things.
“We are here to confirm what we heard, which we have seen and this place has been abandoned for the past 10 to 13 years. We are here to ensure the safety of the people living in this environment. So, we have seen for ourselves that this is completely an abandoned building.
“The government will work within the ambit of the law to take possession of the building to stop what is constituting a threat.
“We all remember the unfortunate incident that happened at Bodija. Nobody believed such a thing could happen over there. If the owner doesn’t want the building anymore, he should surrender it to the government.”
He added: “The ultimatum we issued is immediate. As I’m talking now, the owner should immediately put the building up for what it is meant for or else he or she will forfeit it.
“The state government will take over the building to prevent a threat to the security of lives and property of people living in this vicinity.
“If he is still interested in the building, he or she should put it to use immediately. Nobody can tell what will happen between now and tomorrow, so he should act with immediate effect.
“Official correspondence will be sent to the owner of the building. He or she should put the building to what use it was meant for; if he refuses, the government will take it over and use it in the best interest of Oyo State people.
“I equally will extend this message to other owners of abandoned properties in the state. If you have properties that have been abandoned, kindly put them to the primary use they are meant for or else the government will take them over.
“We cannot allow buildings not occupied or maintained to be left without government intervention.”