The Elejigbo family of Lamgbasa community in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos has accused the state government of demolishing their property at Silverpoint Estate for the purpose of acquiring the land and selling to wealthy individuals.
The family also accused the Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led government of Lagos of acting outside of legal provisions by demolishing their properties.
The family also claimed to have given the land to the state government for forestry but rather than align with the agreement, the state government began to sell the land to wealthy individuals.
Barrister Tayo Omosehin, who spoke with our correspondent on behalf of the Lamgbasa community, affirmed that the demolition contravenes Lagos laws on urban development and was done for selfish interest other than the reasons adduced by the government.
Omosehin said, “According to that law they are hiding under, they have goofed, under that law, if you dont have building permit, the government will serve you notice to go and get it and if you refuse and your building fails integrity test, you will be asked to pull it down yourself and if you don’t, the government will demolish it and you will bear the cost of the demolition, this set of occupants were not given that window.
“We want you to ask the Ministry of Physical Planning if they gave us notice, ask him to produce the evidence of the notice, when you serve notice, you paste it on the building and take photograph of the pasted notice so that nobody puts up a denial, ask him for that.
“Meanwhile, the land was given to Lagos State government in 1981 by the family for the purpose of growing forestry, subsequently, the Lagos State government deviated from the original purpose and gave 20 hectares of the land to Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research which has started selling the land to people for private use.”
Reacting on behalf of the Lagos State Government, the Director, Technical Services, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Muritala Balogun, insisted they were served notice before the demolition exercise was carried out.
He stated that, “The Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research wrote a petition to the government that the land given to them was being encroached upon by unknown persons which prompted the ministry to carry out investigation during which they found out that the people were building without permit, hence, the demolition.”
Denying the claims that the Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research wrote a petition, one of the Director of Administration at the Institute, who does not want his identity to be revealed because he is not in an official capacity to speak on the demolition, said, “The institute did not at any time write a petition to the Lagos State government.”
He however, said the institute only lodged a complaint at Lamgbasa Police Station when they discovered their land was being encroached upon by some persons unknown to them.
The state’s Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development on March 6, 2020 demolished the estate on the allegation of illegal construction and encroachment on other lands.