Lagos Hotelier Laments Military Occupation of Hotel, N120m Loss


• Asks Ambode to save business from crashing
Ugo Aliogo
The Chairman of Great Western Company Limited, Chief Paul Akintoye, o Tuesday lamented illegal invasion and consequent occupation of the firm’s head office in Ikorodu, which he said, had cost him N120 million in the last 11 months.

Akintoye, founder of Western Lodge Guest House, appealed to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to prevail on the Nigeria armed forces to direct its officers to quit his business premises.

He made the appeal at a news conference he addressed at the State NUJ Secretariat, Alausa yesterday alongside his legal counsel, Mr. Adebisi Ogundipe, noting that military invasion and occupation of his business premises for 11 months was absolutely illegal.

The state government had in 2016, shut three hotels in Ishawo area of Ikorodu, then citing the nefarious activities of pipeline vandals, kidnappers and cult clashes, which had claimed lives and destructed properties.
At the conference, yesterday, Akintoye explained his ordeal in the hand of military officers attached to 174 Battalion, Odogunyan Barracks, Ikorodu, saying the military officers “are still occupying the business premises 11 months after they invaded the premises.”

He noted that he had petitioned the state governor twice and Commander of 9 Brigade Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. S. Mohammed once, thereby lamenting that he had not received any reply to the petitions.
Akintoye explained that his ordeal started June 2016 when some military officers invaded the premises of Western Lodge Guest House located at 123, Ishawo Road, Owutu without any warrant or prior notice.

After the invasion, the hotelier disclosed that staff members of the hospitality company and 46 customers were consequently arrested and unlawfully detained to 174 Battalion, Odogunyan Barracks, Ikorodu without any reason.

He, however, said all the staff members “were released shortly after the arrest. But the customers were not released until the second and third days. I was told that each customer paid a sum of N40, 000 to regain their freedom.

“I went to 174 Battalion to find out what actually happened. I directed to speak with the commanding officer. I called him in respect of the invasion and he directed me to speak with the governor. We have lost at least N120 million since illegal occupation of our business premises.

“We believe it was because of security situation in Ikorodu. But we are law-abiding corporate citizen. We are in support of the government’s action to suppress criminal elements and curb the activities of criminals in Ikorodu and its suburbs,” Akintoye explained.

He acknowledged that three hotels – XY Hotels, Little Angel Hotel and Western Lodge Guest House were shut at the same period, though noted the first two hotels had been open, leaving the third one.
He noted that there was still military presence at the premises, lamenting that fire had gutted some part of the hotels and some equipment had become damaged due to illegal occupation of the premises.