Firm, LASURA disagree over alleged unlawful land possession
A real estate investment company, A.J Missri and Company Limited has accused the Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) of unlawful occupation of its landed property at 23, Breadfruit Street, Lagos Island.
The property occupying about 322 Square metres was been built over 30 years ago, has 25 shopping facility occupied by traders, who were tenants of the company.
The company alleged that officials of LASURA on last month swooped on the property with miscreants and demolished it and erected a signboard claiming that the property belongs to the Lagos State Government.
Senior officials of the company claimed that the title on the property was never revoked by LASURA before the demolition nor did the agency obtain an order of court to carry out the demolition and forceful acquisition of the property.
Speaking with media personnel in Lagos, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Edozie Okafor said the company has a land certificate issued by the Lagos State Government, which was registered as ‘LO2059’ at the Lands Registry, Alausa, adding that the agency is aware that the company has a legal title on the property.
He lamented that contrary to the due process regime of government on urban renewal policies on eviction notice to people before any action on property, there was no notice of such duly signed by the Lagos State Government or any of its agencies charged with such responsibility.
“We complained to the police and they said the LASURA gave them the protection to remove the rubbles as if there was no building on the Land. We submitted photocopies of all land certificates to the police and they said they would investigate and stall action on the site. We thought that was the end of the matter until bulldozer pulled down the building and the goods of the tenants”.
“Unlawful and unconstitutional attempt on the part of the Urban Renewal Agency and its top officials to compulsorily acquire our property is a breach of the provisions of Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution and transfer same to certain powerful individuals who believe that as indigenes of Lagos State, they are above the law.”
“We have petitioned the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, the Attorney General of the state and commissioner for Justice, the Commissioner for Physical and Urban Development and the General Manager of Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency”, he stated.
Okafor who also alleged the imputation of one Akeem Kosoko who claimed to have been given authority to claim ownership of the Land by LASURA, appealed to the state government to wade into the matter and ensure that the injustice being done to the company is reversed.
Commenting on the matter, the company’s Lawyer, A.A Oneyibo posited that the action of LASURA runs afoul of the provisions of section II of the new Lagos State Property Law 2016 popularly referred to as ‘The Anti-Omonile Law’ signed into law by the state Governor stressing that it was regrettable that an agency of the state government is acting in breach of the law of the state.
The General Manager, LASURA Mr. Lateef Sholebo told The Guardian that property in question belongs to the State government and evidence to that effect resides with them. He challenged the claimant to take the government to court to prove their ownership of the landed property.