By Bennett Oghifo
Lagos High Court has fixed January 8, 2018 to hear the suit filed by 20 homeowners against embattled Chairman of Lekki Gardens, Richard Nyong, and one of his estate development companies, Lekki Gardens Limited.
According to the court processes made available to newsmen, Nyong and his company allegedly violated the layout of the Horizon Premier-1 Estate in Lekki by converting children playground and areas reserved for recreation and greening to commercial use without regard for comfort, safety and security of the estate residents.
The homeowners also alleged that rather than complete the estate and deliver it to subscribers, the developer had focused more on the commercial structure, which has since commenced operations, while basic facilities such as potable water are still lacking in the estate.
The 33 units in the estate were sold in 2015 with a pledge by the developer to hand over completed houses to subscribers in 2016.
The homeowners insisted that the action of Nyong and his company was a breach of the sale contract, noting that the layout and brochure with which the estate was marketed to subscribers made clear provision for playground, recreation and green areas among other facilities.
In the brochure, a copy of which was made available to newsmen, facilities promised by the developer included “club house with beautiful pool, basketball and tennis courts, a gym, children’s playground, tree-lined walks and nooks, pocket parks, green areas and manicured gardens”.
But in the estate as currently developed, none of the listed facilities is provided and the hope of subsequent provision of the facilities was dashed with the conversion of the allocated space to commercial use.
One of the homeowners said all efforts to get Nyong and his company to adhere to the original layout proved abortive.
“They insisted that they are in business and that disgruntled homeowners were free to request a refund of their investment,” said the homeowner, who pleaded not to be named for fear of attack by the developer’s agents.
She added that the company has subsequently advertised the sale of shops and office spaces created from the converted space despite some of the correspondences from their office claiming that the structure was offices for the estate facility.
Efforts to get Nyong or any official of Lekki Gardens to speak proved abortive.
It would be recalled that a six-storey building at Ikate Elegushi area of Lekki belonging to the developer collapsed on March 10, 2016 during construction, killing over 30 people and injuring many others.
The company and its promoters, including Nyong, are currently facing criminal charges in a Lagos High Court for the incident, having been accused of negligence and deliberate violation of the original plan of the collapsed building.
Following the incident and buyers’ apathy towards the Lekki Gardens brand, Nyong set up new property development companies to advance his business.
The companies include Meridian Park Estate Limited, Horizon Estate Limited and Foreshore Waters (Signatoria) Limited.