An Open Letter to The Lagos State Government
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An Open Letter to The Lagos State Government

Happenings

Help! Lagos State govt agents want to demolish our houses and tak over our land

Right now, there is considerable anxiety among more than 700 owners of various degrees of plots of land at Alabeko Estate, behind Lbs Ogombo, Ajah, Lagos State.

The legitimate property owners are worried over moves by some land grabbers suspected to be agents of the Lagos State government to demolish their buildings and take over their plots of land.

It was gathered that the land were duly bought by them from the ‘Omonile’ who are the indigenous owners of the parcels of land with approved excision since 2014 by the former Lagos state Governor, Mr Raji Fashola. They claimed that they have all paid for the land.

The land was exercised to them through the indigenous name ‘Alabeko’ when Mr Raji Fashola was Governor of Lagos State.They regretted that, 4 years after an Agent of the government, conniving with Lekki Garden and Happy World Happy Homes in Lagos were trying to demolish their buildings and take away the land.

In a letter of complaint they wrote to the Lagos State governor, His Excellency, Mr Akinwumi Ambode early in the year, the land owners said they were convinced that Governor Ambode was a kind-hearted man, who would not allow some privileged officials in his government to undermine the rights of the common man.

The land owners, who protested sometime in 2016, said they noticed some underground activities around the estate and suspected that land grabbers operating with government machinery were at work, to fleece them of their plots of land. They thus called on His Excellency Akinwumi Ambode and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to save them from the activities of these land speculators that had been using government cover to forcibly take over many landed properties in the state.

The landlords wish to state that the same case has since been  in court, where they sued the principal actors which include, Lekki Gardens, Happy World Happy Home.The landlords also wish to petition the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, over the threat to take over their land.

The petition by the Alabeko Estate,who are duly registered Community Development Association in Eti-Osa Local Government, was title “Complaints against the Un-notified and Unlawful Forcible Invasion of the Land Acquired from the rightful owners”.

They said they were shocked when on the 22, August 2017, when  they noticed that same land grabbers who claimed to be Agents of the Lagos state government had been to the land to paste demolition notices, which they claimed gave them two days grace under the watch of some armed policemen.

The landlord said, following the development early this year, they wrote to the Lagos State Governor Ambode on July 10 2016, complaining about the incident on the land. Despite their complaints, the land grabbers  accompanied by people who claim to be state Agents continued to harass and intimidate them on daily basis. Threatening to destroy structures and foundations already erected by the Landlords on their respective plots.

“We know as a matter of fact and law that once land is acquired by any citizen through lawful means,with deeds of assignment from the original owners; such land cannot be taken away or revoked by the state government, especially when there are proofs of right to ownership.
There are decisions of superior courts on this point. We are always willing and able to develop our plots, from the moment the appropriate authorities permit and direct the full development.

“Any document by any individual or group of entities, that claims to have frozen the estate is just the imagination of some highly-placed persons.”

They appealed to Governor Ambode, to ensure that the unlawful development on the land was discontinued immediately. They also  said they would continue developing their plots, which were legitimately acquired by every landlord, with the issuance of Deed of assignment; in addition, the blueprint for the estate which included facilities like: access roads, electricity and water were already established. All government Taxes and yearly CDA dues have been  duly met and paid by the estate since inception.

“But as many years passed, without these facilities, we the landowners took up the development of the entire place ourselves and hired the services of construction equipment operators, to create access roads into our lands, which would  enable us have easy development,” they said.

The CDA also came second from the entire estate, in community Development Services in 2015- a credit duly recognised by the former Governor, Mr. Raji Fashola.

Some Landlords that commenced building projects at the site had finished and some others who  had reached advanced stages were jilted last month, when some people started pasting demolition notices at their sites; the men threatening these demolitions said that they were acting on the instructions of the state government.

We are appealing to the Lagos State Government to intervene and get the land grabbers to leave our properties and lands alone. People have already spent their life’s fortune and fully built their houses and others are already developing the estate. Thus we don’t want further interference from anybody and are capable of developing our plots.

We know that we can’t fight the government, or the wealthy land grabbers, but the government should protect us as citizens and do the right thing. We shall take every legitimate step possible, to get justice.

Agboola Odunfa.

Happenings Media
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