Another Magodo episode may be playing out in Owutu, Ikorodu, Lagos State as some faceless individuals are allegedly conniving with the Local Government, officials of the state Ministry of Transportation and some members of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria to demolish buildings allegedly approved by the government.
On Wednesday, 23 February, 2022, landlords and tenants living at Aduragbemi Street, Owutu, Ikorodu, an adjacent street to the popular Isawo Road suddenly woke up to a Notice of Demolition pasted on their buildings. The notice said their houses either fall under power line or are blocking sewage line, whereas, neither of this affected them.
The first Demolition Notice dated 23/02/2022 and signed by one Mr Tiamiyu O.L. on behalf of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transportation reads in part: “I have instructions to inform you that the entire stretch of land under Powerline and Canal Setbacks in the State belongs to the State Government and has been dedicated and earmarked for the development of Mechanic Village and other Infrastructural Facilities without permanent structures by the Ministry of Transportation in line with Mr. Governor’s THEMES AGENDA.
“Consequently, the Ministry of Transportation has inspected the site that you are occupying and it was discovered that the structures not approved by the Ministry has sprung up in contravention of the usage of the land with the guidelines of Mechanic Village Scheme in the State.
“In view of the foregoing, you are hereby given fourteen (14) days to vacate and remove all the illegal structures erected on the above aforementioned land on the receipt of this notice”.
The Final Demolition Notice which gave a 7-day ultimatum conveyed the warm regards of the Special Adviser to Governor on Transportation to those whose house are about to be demolished. The notice signed by the same Tiamiyu O. L.
The ultimatum expired on the Wednesday 23rd March and the hapless landlords and tenants that are about to be rendered homeless are crying for help, appealing to governor Sanwo-Olu to save them from the unscrupulous government officials.
Surprisingly, most of the affected buildings share fence with those facing the popular Isawo Road, hence, they couldn’t possibly run foul of either falling under power line, sewage route or canal set back.
Consequently, the Landlords under the aegis of CDA Owutu 1, at Agric Bus stop swung into action to unveil the masquerade behind their ordeal and avoid the unjust demolition of their houses.
According to a source which prefers to remain anonymous, “under the guise of creating new motor parks because of the road construction that includes the BRT lanes and which is threatening the present motor parks, members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria are working in cahoot with the Chairman of Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area and some greedy members of the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, to deprive the landlords of their land and building.
“It was equally learnt that the RTEAN became very desperate because the rival group, National Union of Road Transport Union has dislodged them from their former park. So, they are desperately looking for a space.
“The Chairman of Ikorodu West LCDA, Sulaimon Kazeem Olanrewaju, the Chairman of RTEAN, Owutu Branch, Mr Segun Omole, aka Pero: and the Ministry of Transportation led by one Tiamiyu O.L are allegedly conspiring to demolish houses that have government approval just to create motor parks and share the rest of the land among themselves.
“They are not willing to even pay compensation for houses that were constructed in the 80s with approved survey and approved building plan, knowing full well that it is very rare for many of them to have Certificate of Occupancy. What we heard is that they want to share the land within themselves, and then use part of it for motor parks and shopping complex.
Mr AbdulGaniyy Adekunle Mustapha who recently won Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s empowerment grant for Agriculture – under the World Bank supported Lagos APPEALS project is the Financial Secretary of the CDA. He wondered what wicked people in Lagos State are turning the Center of Excellence into.
“This is my father’s house. It’s located at number 17 Aduragbemi Street. It has been built before 1990 with approved survey and approved building plan and I have lived here for more than 25 years. How can they just wake up one day to tell us they want to demolish our building. Is this how to deliver good governance? Is that why we elected them into offices. Look at this building, it is sharing fence with the buildings facing Isawo Road, so, if the building that are facing the main road didn’t fall on power line, how can ours be. Besides, there is no canal here. They are planning to deprive the poor of their hard earned resources through official stealing and corruption. We are calling on our amiable Governor, the friend of the poor to come to our aid. We don’t want stories after our buildings must have been demolished. We are surely going to mobilise all the physically challenged individuals to move aganist this evil plot.
Mr Aliu Ogunkoya whose house is situated at 5 Aduragbemi street also called on well meaning individuals to weigh-in on those elements who are using government offices as a cover to perpetrate evils aganist the vulnerable and the downtrodden. He also warned that government should not force defenceless citizens to take laws into their hands if they are pushed to the wall.
CDA of Aduragbemi is not relenting on getting justice as they have contacted a senior member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honorable SOB Agunbiade who came along with the Chairman of the Ikorodu North LCDA, but it appears, the evil doers are bent on achieving their goal.
Though, Agunbiade came around, held a meeting with them and promised to look into the matter, yet the Ministry has served another 7-day ultimatum on the residents, not minding the lawmaker’s intervention.
The chairman of CDA Owutu 1, Pastor Joseph Alaba Adeola who was also at the meeting called on the government to come to their assistance, saying it appears very powerful individuals are behind the game-plan.
Commenting on the development, a senior architect with a local government in Lagos suspected foul play. In his words, “How can one ministry gives an approval for a survey and building plan and another ministry (of transport) will revoke the same approval without engagement with the stakeholders. Even if there is a compelling need to use the land for development, the landiords must be duly compensated and resettled, if need be. Where do they want them to go within 21 days. And what is the business of the Ministry of Transportation in the legality or otherwise of the building that had been constructed with approval decades ago. These are not shanties, they are approved buildings”, he said.
The landlords who appear to have lost confidence in the LCDA Chairman said while they have been unable to see Governor Sanwo-Olu, they believe the assurances given by honorable SOB Agunbiade will avert the imminent demolition of their houses.