Governor Makinde: Demolishing Heritage Sites Won’t Address Housing Crisis

Taiwo Ajayi
2 Min Read

The Oyo State Commissioner for Lands recently claimed that the government is considering relinquishing the Ogunpa Dam Forest Reserve, housing the Agodi Parks and Garden, due to criminal activity within the area. This statement has drawn strong criticism, with many viewing it as an indictment of the administration’s failure to address security concerns.

Critics argue that criminal activities can occur anywhere and should not prompt the abandonment of essential spaces. They liken the situation to politicians campaigning in areas with reported violence or extortion and suggest that this rationale would call for halting political rallies. Similarly, occasional violence in motor parks should not result in their demolition. They contend that absolving responsibility by converting the forest to a housing estate is not in line with the government’s duty to protect lives and property, as outlined in the Constitution.

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Governor’s claims that converting the reserve into housing will alleviate poverty have been challenged. Critics question whether the resulting houses would be affordable for low to middle-income earners, rendering the purpose moot.

Furthermore, there’s a suggestion that the government is overlooking the potential economic benefits of forestry and conservation, which could aid in lifting people out of poverty. Exploiting the conservation area’s potential in tourism and pharmaceuticals could serve as a more sustainable solution. The conversion of this conservation area into properties only accessible to the affluent is seen as counterproductive to poverty alleviation efforts.

Additionally, while tree planting is commendable, it’s argued that it cannot compensate for the complex ecological balance maintained by the existing forest. The diversity of species and the ecosystem built over decades cannot be swiftly replaced by planting a few species of trees in a circular road.

Source: Businessday

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