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Communities urge Ambode’s intervention in controversial land acquisitions




MIFFED by the incessant faceoff between property owners and government officials over land issues, some communities in Lagos have appealed to the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to wade into controversy surrounding some landed property acquired by the state.

In the last five years, not less than 10 cases of revocation embarked upon have caused a faceoff between government and property owners, in many parts of the state.

These include Odo-Iragunsen community, where over 150 properties were demolished at the instance of the Ministry for Physical Planning and Urban Development; the threats by the same ministry to demolish a portion of Parafa area of Ikorodu; the demolition of Pure Fire Church, along the Epe-Ibeju road; the demolition of Ayobo in Ayopo-Ipaja area, where 175 houses were also demolished, amid many others.

Pleading with Governor Ambode last week, representative of Odo-Iragunsen, Mr. Paul Ologunde, said the affected homeowners would be happy if he could revisit their case. According to Ologunde, many of the homeowners that at Iragunsen are either retire civil servants and artisans.

We are appealing to the governor to please, revisit our case and restore back our land. We are ready to regularize where necessary”, he said. Similarly, Ayobo homeowners, who also suffer similar fate, made same request of quick intervention.

According to Mr. Gabriel Ighodalo, those who lost their homes are more than 170 families. “We are very disturbed because after our properties were demolished under the guise of “overriding Public interest”, what we are witnessing is that the lands are being sold to new people”, alleged Ighodalo, urging Governor Ambode to come to their aids.

Recently, Governor Ambode pldeged to set up machinery that will not only ensure that properties are not only illegally occupied, but also to forestall an indiscriminate demolition of peoples’ properties.

The Governor, while reacting to seizure of the allocation of over 25 plots of land by his predecessor, at Lekki Phase One, purported to had been allocated to the Lagos State Water Corporation in 1998 by the then military administrator of the state, Mohamed Marwa, while the certificate of occupancy was signed by former Governor Bola Tinubu, in 2006, said his administration will not condone any form of illegality, as far as land matter is concerned.

A senior official who spoke to The Guardian on the matter said the objective of the Land Use Act, which nationalized land, regulates land administration is to make land accessible to all applicants without discrimination. “However, what is creating problems is essentially, bureaucratic delay in the processing of application for allocation of land, issuance of Certificates of Occupancy and registration of properties. “Allocation criteria are exclusionary and only a very small proportion of middle to upper income earners have access to land”, said an undisclosed official.

However, The Guardian learnt that there are probabilities that based on petition to the governor, some cases may be looked into. These include a 250 hectare land valued at about N35billion strategically located at the Ajah junction on Lekki Road which was initially meant for a General Hospital for the people of Eti-Osa local government, but currently handed over to a developer.

Another one is the 1,000 hectares of land valued at about N75billion located at Lakowe near Abijo at Ibeju-Lekki Local government, being developed as golf course and housing estate by Assets and Resource Management Ltd.; a prime land of 157 hectares with 2.5km of Atlantic beachfront valued at about N10billion and from the communities of Siriwon, Igbekodo, Apakin and others, in Ibeju-Lekki Local government area, purportedly given to build a golf course and luxury villa with little or no compensation to the villagers.

Others are the 3.8hectares of land of Lagos State Fisheries office in VI (beside the Institute of Oceanography) valued at N3billion; The Fishery landing jetty at Badore (where the Ilubirin fishermen were to be relocated) valued at N500million; The entire Ogudu foreshore scheme initially earmarked for low cost housing scheme valued at N5billion; The Ilubinrin housing estate (which used to house Lagos state civil servants and judges up till 2007) valued at N2.5billion and the former Julius Berger yard at Oko Orisan, Epe valued at N450million.

Chief Saidi Ade Balogun, Chairman of Eputu/Ilasan community, warned that it is time for the communities to wake up and tackle the challenges of various frauds perpetuated on survey plans because of the adverse effects on people and loss of fortunes.

On one’s survey plans, one may see a set of coordinates numbers to define one of the corners on one’s land. This starting coordinate with the bearings and distances are used to chart and plot land on the base map of Lagos State

. The problem here is that, a lot fraudulent activities are perpetrated using fake coordinate to deceive people. One will continue to wonder how tricksters are getting this done? But to Governor Ambode, effective land administration is very important, noting that without it, development may be difficult.

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