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Developer, tenant bicker over alleged breach of contract

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Contract paper. Photo: THEBALANCESMB

Controversy is brewing between a tenant and a developer over alleged forceful eviction from the commercial property in Lagos. 

The tenant occupies five shops and one office space situated at Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) property, Block A2, Urban Renewal Building, Nnamdi Azikiwe Street, Lagos Island, which was leased to the developer – Mr. Paul Ogedengbe of ATO Architect Limited.

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The building with several shops is a three-storey structure. The Guardian learnt that the trouble started when the developer asked the tenant, Alhaji Jimoh Kamoli and others to vacate the premises for renovation.  

Alhaji Kamoli told The Guardian that prior to the planned renovation occasioned by damaged roof, windows and other facilities, there was a meeting between the parties last year, where it was agreed that upon completion of the renovation, the tenants will pay between 10 to 60 per cent rent, and given the Right of First Refusal (ROFR), that is the contractual right to own a stake in the property before any other person. However, he said the developer flouted the conditions.
  
Kamoli who said that he has been occupying the facility for over 20 years, stated that he paid the developer based on a request that the sitting tenants make advance deposits as a form of commitment.
  
On the strength of this agreement, the sum of N2 million, he said, was paid to the developer in February for six shops. However, he expressed surprise that the shops were allocated to another tenant while the deposited fees were never refunded.

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In a petition to LASURA, counsel to Alhaji Kamoli, A.R. Fatoki, and Associates, urged the agency to prevail on the developer, to release the shops to his client.
 
The letter reads, “We are greatly appalled by the ambivalent attitude of the developer to the retention of the shops and office space being occupied by our client.

“Regrettably, all the relevant guidelines for the developer with regards to sitting tenants are now being observed in the breach.”
 
“Recent development has shown that the developer is not a man to be trusted. He has demonstrated an intention to edge out our client notwithstanding the agreed position before they assumed possession of the various blocks.

“We implore you to wade into the matter and prevail on the developer to toe the path of civility. Doing otherwise may constrain us to take some drastic legal steps.” 
  
But the developer, Mr. Paul Ogedengbe said that there have been issues with the government on the property, stating that LASURA is trying to revoke their license on the property.
  
He said, “We still had a meeting with Lagos State House of Assembly on this same issue. The issue with Alhaji Kamoli will be handled when we settle with the government.”
  
Ogedengbe also explained that he has refunded the deposit to the tenant’s company account.

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