Family Accuses Lagos of Acquiring Land for Private Use

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Eddie Alegbe

The Elejigbo family of Langbasa community in Eti-Osa Local Government Area has accused the Lagos State Government of illegally demolishing its property at Silverpoint Estate and acquiring its land for private use.

The counsel to the family, Mr. Tayo Omosehin made the allegation at a news conference he held recently after the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development demolished the family’s property for alleged illegal construction.

Omosehin explained that the state government carried out the demolition exercise, citing the failure of the family to obtain building permit and drawing approval before embarking on project development.

He described the action of the state government as unlawful, claiming that the action contravened the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law, 2005.

Under the law, the counsel said: “If an individual did not obtain a building permit before he embarked on his project development or building construction, the state government will serve him notice to enable him comply with the law.

“If the individual refuses to obtain and his building fails integrity test, you will be asked to pull it down yourself. If he does not demolish the building by himself, the government will demolish it and you will bear the cost of the demolition.”

He said the occupants of the estate were not served with any notice before officials of the state government carried out the demolition exercise.

He explained that the family released the land “to the state government for the purpose of growing forestry. Subsequently, the state government deviated from the original purpose and gave 20 hectares of the land to the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research.

“As we speak, the Institute has been selling the land, a portion was sold to someone who has built an event centre there, another portion to a Lebanese who is using it for another purpose.

“Sadly enough, where houses were demolished were not even within the 20 hectares that was mapped out in the certificate of occupancy they are laying claim to.”

On the institute’s petition, the counsel said: “Under the law of allocation, the moment you give an allocation to a body, title has left you. You cannot go back to the land to do anything because they wrote that some people encroached on the land.

“The option before the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research is to go to court and get a court order, it is not the state that will carry out that demolition.”

Responding to the family’s allegation, the Director, Technical Services, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Murtala Balogun promised to look at the petition of the family.

“I was posted to this office in December 2018. I saw a letter written by Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research informing the government that some unknown persons had encroached into the land allocated to it.”