Housing corporation, residents divided on filling station

There is no love lost between the Oyo State Housing Corporation and Old Bodija residents with both sides sticking to its gun in a matter which may end in court of law.

The Chairman of the corporation, Chief Bayo Lawal is alleged by the residents of distorting the master plan of the Housing Estate with his approval of a filling station at the Ibadan upscale estate.

But Lawal  said that his board acted within the legal framework before it approved the construction of the said station.

The residents also alleged that the corporation had sold the old fuel dump site, located within the premises of the corporation, to an oil marketer, adding that no assessment had been conducted to ascertain the appropriateness or otherwise of the location.

Lawal denied the claim and said the old fuel dump site was not sold outright, pointing out that all safety requirements had been sought for and approved by the relevant agencies.

The chairman added that the fuel dump site is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project for duration of 25 years during which the investor would pay annual rent to the corporation, while the agreement is subject to a five-year review.

He frowned at the attitude of the residents, which, according to him, was aimed at blackmailing his board and government, revealing that master plans are dynamic aside that he reached out to Bodija Estate Residents Association (BERA) when some decisions were taken on need to give Old Bodija Estate some physical facelifts.

“These people are simply mischievous. They are selling an outright clandestine lie to the public. We did not sell the fuel dump site which has been in existence since 1958. Rather, it is a concessioning arrangement. It is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project in which the property will be returned to the Housing Corporation after 25 years.

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“As contained in the terms of the agreement on the PPP arrangement, the investor will be paying annual rent on the property to Housing Corporation. The agreement is subject to review every five years,” he said.

Lawal also said that the action of the residents smelt politics just as he insisted that the corporation sat with BERA, beating his chest that he was not scared of their steps as long as he was hiding nothing in the transaction.

A resident, Mr Bode Akinjide-Oladeji stated that Bodija is a residential estate, which should not have been considered for filling station for its health implication on the residents and the environment as a whole.

“The presence of the filling station under construction leaves concern about the tendency to generate more carbodioxide at this place, due to increased vehicular presence.

“I am not sure if the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the former Premier of the Old Western Region who established the Housing Estate, anticipated this ugly development when Bodija Estate was opened.

“Residents of this community, under the aegis of the Bodija Estate Residents Association (BERA), had approached those building the filling station. We expressed reservations against the arbitrariness. The idea of altering the physical and environmental layout is wrong and unacceptable.

“In building a filling station, the standard must be followed. We are taken aback the way the serenity of Bodija Estate is being altered.We are appealing to the Oyo State Housing Corporation to prevail on the owner of the project to convert the structure to another use. What I mean is that the person can, for instance, consider using it for mall or a related purpose,” he noted.

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