Industrialists battle Lagos government over eviction notice
There is no end in sight to the tussle between occupants of Yaba industrial estate and Ibile Holdings Limited, an investment arm of the Lagos State Government over their stay in Sabo, Yaba area.
The 42 tenants and the government have been at loggerheads, after move to relocate them to Ikorodu three years ago failed. The latest development revealed a fresh order to the occupants to vacant the estate without alternative location.
The occupants, who are mainly Small and Medium-size Entrepreneurs (SMEs) had stood against the decision to relocate them after signing an agreement with previous government.
The parties are presently at the Igbosere High Court, where they filed an interlocutory injunction restraining Ibile Holdings and the state government from forcefully ejecting them until the matter has been heard in the court.
The start-ups, who have operated within the facility for over 15 years, are deeply troubled by the threat of relocation and ejection.
The occupants told The Guardian that the persistent threat of eviction is negatively affecting their businesses and distorting long-term plans.
The estate is one of the first industrial areas, built by the Federal Government for SMEs before it was transferred to the state government.
Sources disclosed that Babatunde Fashola administration promised to upgrade infrastructure in the estate with an Independent Power Project in 2013. A draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) prepared by Mr. Femi Okunnu chambers on the instruction towards upgrading the estate was sidelined and never implemented till the end of that administration.
His successor, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode handed over the estate to Ibile Holdings for an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) hub.
Findings show that the occupant of the estate pay rentals to the state’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry. In 2010, the government saw reason with them and withdrew the letter of relocation. This decision by government was also premised on the withdrawal of the court case instituted by the occupants.
Speaking with The Guardian on the development, one of the occupants Mrs. Alaba Bamigbose, said the governor had promised that occupants will be properly relocated to Imota Industrial Park before any takeover of the estate by Ibile holdings, adding that there are written documents to support the claims.
She said: “There has been several meetings and inspection/visits at the agreed industrial park. There have been several demolition exercises on our estate by the government despite a court injunction, which both parties are meant to obey.
She affirmed that the request of occupants is that government should provide alternative location to relocate their members without jeopardising their sources of livelihood.
Efforts to get reactions from Ibile Holdings Limited on the matter, was not successful as officials of the company told The Guardian that their Head of Projects were not available to speak on the matter.