Lagos communities demand retraction of quit notice, halt in land grabbers’ activities
Apparently, to forestall breakdown of law and order, the Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation is demanding immediate reversal of the demolition notice on shanties along shorelines by the Lagos State government.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had given the order dated October 9, 2016, to all informal waterfront communities across Lagos State, during an inspection tour of state projects, warning that the government was poised to go all out against kidnappers through tougher legislations.
But the waterfront communities across Lagos state are concerned that such an order would be threat to their livelihood. In a letter signed by about 18-leaders from Ago Egun, Barga; Ebute-Ilaje,Bariga; Orisunmibare, Sogunro; Ofin, Ikorodu, Itun Agan; Ajabge Sari Iganmu, Mosafejo Oworonsoku; Okun Ayo. Tarkwa bau; Abete Ojora; Olufunke Majidun, Ikorodu; Tomaro, Baiyeku, Ikorod; Oko Agbon; Irede; Otunmra Ilaje and otodo Gbame, the group said it affect persons living in informal settlements, persons working in the informal economy and persons living with disabilities
The community heads recalled that during its peaceful protest and subsequent meeting on October 5 addressed by the Special Adviser to the governor on Civic Engagement had presented the three concerns of the different constituencies of the Urban poor to the government.
At the end of the meeting, the parties was said to have agreed to present policy proposals on core issues of housing, security of tenure and protection of livelihoods to help Lagos state become an inclusive Megacity.
However, the community expressed shock that few days after the meeting, they got an order of demolition of all informal waterfront communities which they believed to negate terms of agreement of the October 5, 2016 Meeting.
Consequently, the communities have threatened that in the event of non-retraction of the order by government, they would be embarking on mass protests across the state.
Reacting to this development, the Programme Officer of Community Conservation and Development Initiatives (CCDI), Mrs. Kofo Adeleke opined that government should have provided an alternative place for the residents before coming up with such an order of demolition. She noted that residents have been living on the shorelines for many years.
Meanwhile, for alleged incessant invasion, another 10 communities have appealed to the Lagos governor Akinwunmi Ambode to put an end to the activities of land grabbers in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area.
They also called on the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) to ‘conduct audit in respect of the violation of human rights by the land invaders’.
The communities include Oko-Olomi, Olowu-Oko-Olomi, Adeba (Jaguna), Itapampa, Adeba (Onikonko), Oko-Ile, Oko-Jegi, Alabula, Seriki Alabula, and Alaga alongside others.
They spoke through their lawyer, Bamidele Ogundele at a press conference and commended the state government for promulgating the law on land grabbing and setting up task force to arrest the situation.
He said, “It is imperative that an unfortunate incident happened on the Sunday April 17, 2016 when instrumentality of Alhaji Mutairu Owoeye was unlawfully used for the invasion of the 10 Ibeju-Lekki communities without warrant of possession and Sheriff of the Lagos State High Court in line with the provisions of Sherrif and Judgment Enforcement Law, Cap 6, Law of Federation, 2004.
“More importantly, the instrumentality of Alhaji (Chief) Mutairu Owoeye was used to disrespect the clear unambiguous ruling/order of the Justice A.J Bashua of the Epe High Court in suit no. EPD/047/2016 dated the 27th day of June 2016 restraining Tolls System Development Company Limited from further embarking on any construction on the affected community’s lands and mandating the company to remove all thugs and hoodlums led by Alhaji Mutairu Owoeye from the lands.
In response, Alhaji Owoeye in a statement jointly signed by his lawyer, Ayodele Omoniyi said: “Toll System Development Limited is a holder of a Certificate of Occupancy No.17/17/2003T in respect of an area of land measuring 1.561.20 hectares situate within Lekki Peninsula sub-region which was registered in Lagos State Land Registry on October 27, 2003 and registered as NO.17, page 17 in volume 2003T of the Register of Deed.
“Nowhere has it been contended that the Certificate of Occupancy was not genuine or that it was not issued by the Lagos state government to Tolls System Development Limited and thus effectively bringing the company within the definition of genuine owners of the land within the contemplation of the new Properties Protection Law.
“The company has also been granted possession of the land by an order of court, which is still subsisting. It is important to state that neither Tolls System Development Company Limited nor Alhaji Mutairu Owoeye has violated any order of the court which in any event was never served.”