HURMA Writes LGs, Lawmakers On Alleged Unlawful Demolition House In Ijegun-Ijedodo-Ijagemo

HURMA Writes LGs, Lawmakers On Alleged Unlawful Demolition House In Ijegun-Ijedodo-Ijagemo

A human rights group, Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) has appealed to two council chairmen of other political officeholders in Lagos West Senatorial District, to urgently intervene in the demolition of some structures in Ijegun-Ijedodo-Ijagemo Communities in Lagos State, under the pretence of giving ‘right of way’, to construction of a road project in the area.

This the group said the urgent intervention of the council chairmen and the Lawmakers will mitigate the sufferings of the affected residents, as well, restore their rights and protect them from further attacks from ‘hawks donning the garb of officialdom’. 

HURMA’s Executive Director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak in group’s petitions to the Council bosses and lawmakers, also stated that the threats to demolish the residents’ houses and confiscate their lands earned by years of sweat and toil, on the false pretense and information that the Lagos State Government is abandoning the original Master Plan which certified those properties as legally acquired and out of the Right Of Way (ROW) of government for a new undisclosed one that ‘urgently’ seeks to demolish their properties

Those petitioned by HURMA includes; Mr. Rosolu Idowu and Lasisi Akinsanya both Chairmen of Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State and Igando/Ikotun Local Council Development Area (LCDA) respectively. While the Lawmakers are: Senator Olamilekan Solomon, Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District; Honourable Taiwo Kolawole; Honourable Babatunde Adekunle Ojora; Honourable Tajudeen A. Obasa and Honourable Olufemi Adebanjo, all members of Federal House of Representatives.

HURMA’s petition captioned; “petition against the surreptitious collusion to demolish legally acquired/government approved land and building in the Ijedodo/ijagemo axis by privileged individuals illegally employing State apparatus’ reads; “Our attention at the Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) has been drawn to an ongoing plot by some individuals who have been using their closeness to the corridors of power in Lagos State to terrorize law abiding landlords and residents of Ijegun/Ijedodo/Ijagemo axis with threats to demolish their houses and confiscate their lands earned by years of sweat and toil, on the false pretense and information that the Lagos State Government is abandoning the original Master Plan which certified those properties as legally acquired and out of the Right Of Way (ROW) of government for a new undisclosed one that ‘urgently’ seeks to demolish their properties. 

“Our findings revealed that those pushing this plot –some of them in highly placed positions –are the real culprits who have gone to acquire lands and properties on the designated Right of Way (adjacent to the one in question) where the road infrastructure is meant to traverse in the original Master Plan, and who are now desperately seeking to upturn and divert the original plan in order to save their own skin and make innocent law-abiding citizens pay for their own brazen effrontery at law-breaking. 

This is injustice laden with impunity, and we believe that as the number one citizen of that Local Government Area, you will act in concert with other stakeholders to ensure that this attempt at travesty of justice does not stand.

To be clear, the Ijegun/Ijedodo Affected Landlords Committee at whose instance this petition is written did not only purchase their properties legally as distinct from the other area designated as right of way for the road project as obtained in the original Master Plan of 1972 (and as seen and described in the original layout with the Ministry of Lands and the Office of the Surveyor General of Lagos State), their right of legal acquisition of those lands was also recognized in the adapted version of the original Master Plan by Alimosho Local Government under the Alimosho Mega City Plan 2010-2020, of which you must be well-acquainted with. This goes to show and is also a proof that the area in question which lies and situate at the right hand side of NNPC pipeline and connects five junctions of Ijegun through Ijedodo to Abule Ado with about  800 houses including 11 places of worship neither encroaches on Government Acquisition, nor violates the Master Plan. 

“It neither contravenes the Right of Way nor is it built under any high tension transmission lines. It is neither under any NNPC corridor nor built on any drainage system to warrant demolition, and the people have lived in that place for over 40 years. 

“The first attempt of this sinister plot to eviscerate the right of these people and make them bear the wrong burdens of breach of government original plan by these privileged and powerful plotters happened on the 27th of August 2020 when officials from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development came to mark houses in the area for demolition without citing any reason. Petitions were sent to appropriate quarters but without any positive response. 

“The subsequent visit by officials of the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPA) to the two sites – the legal site belonging to the Landlords and residents at whose instance this petition is written, and the other site where the road infrastructure was meant to traverse originally- vindicated the right of the former as not constituting any violation with landmark pillars as evidence.

“There was also a visitation by members of the Lagos State House of Assembly which promised to make the report of its finding public but which has not done so till date. The concerned landlords and residents thereafter instituted a court process which prompted the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to hurriedly organize and call for a supposed ‘Stakeholders’ meeting slated for 23/10/2021 ostensibly meant to resolve the matter. 

“However, five days to the stakeholders meeting, the same Ministry served a notice of removal via a Punch newspaper advertorial titled ‘Removal of Structure within the Right of Way of Ijedodo Road in Alimosho Local Government Area’ on the residents of the area which was promptly responded to by the landlords and residents via the same newspaper, dated 22/10/2021. 

“This use of under the arm tactics convinces us the more of the illegality of the entire enterprise with the use of official government apparatuses. Needless to say the stakeholders meeting ended in a deadlock while the case subsists in the court of law.

“However, in desperate moves by the sponsors of this agenda to usurp the legally acquired right of the landlords and residents of Ijegun/Ijedodo/Ijagemo axis, resort has been made by the pushers of this plot to the use of extra-judicial, nonetheless, illegal and egregious means to achieve this ignoble and satanic objective.

“In fact, on the 28th of July 2021, a group of miscreants and land-grabbers (popularly called Omo-Oniles) came to mark the houses again for demolition, while a few days after, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development with Land Bureau officials supported by a team of armed men terrorized the entire vicinity for three days, forcefully entering people’s homes, taking snap shot of properties as marked for demolition, irresponsibly asking for owners of properties and their phone numbers, all in the brazen illegal attempt to stampede these people to capitulate into the whole idea of having them ejected for no wrong reasons. It remains to us a puzzle while those who have done their due diligence before acquiring lands certified by government as free of all official encumbrances should be made to suffer this spate of sustained violence, while the real culprits who built on the right of way of the original Master Plan hide behind these façade and live seemingly in peace. The irony of the entire plot is that the original Master Plan meant for the road infrastructure is still selling as we speak.We wish to bring it to your notice sir, that due to this constant harassment and infliction of physical pains and violence with attendant psychological and physiological consequences, about six landlords in the area have died of causes related to heart attacks while four others are currently battling with stroke. As the matter intensifies and with the injunction of the Lagos State High Court Ikeja restraining the plot to demolish those houses (Suit No: ID/7471GCMW/2020), there have been spurious reasons adduced by some lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly that the reason for the diversion from the original plan was to save cost for the government. This claim in itself points to the brigandage approach of those pushing the plot. For instance, when did the debate to alter the original Master Plan take place? Where is the cost/benefit analysis which convinces of cost as a priority made known to members of the public? When and where was the debate outcome gazetted and what detailed transparent plans were put in place to give the so-called new plan any force of law?Your Excellency sir, it is apparent that what is at play is the attempt by a few group of people united in their sinister plot to inflict pains and miseries on law-abiding, innocent citizens as a decoy to avoid paying the price for their own crime of violating governmental plans and procedures. We implore you to intervene in this matter in order to unmask those plotters who are making the lives of innocent and law-abiding citizens miserable for no just cause.

“Our interaction with the people of the area especially the youth suggests that an attempt to allow this evil plot to materialize without nipping it in the bud portends a crisis that may make the recent ENDSARS protest a child’s play.
 “Besides, cases of use of government apparatus by individuals to usurp the right of others has been found to be on the increase in Lagos state. This large scale unprecedented effort to save the skin of a few violators who considered themselves as sacred cows while ruining the lives of innocent and law-abiding citizens through the phantom excuse of saving cost should be rejected and called to order. The human tragedy that is emerging from this broad daylight injustice with citizens already dying must be halted. 

“We therefore demand and anticipate your urgent intervention to mitigate the sufferings of these people, restore their rights, and protect them from further attacks from hawks donning the garb of officialdom”.

Responding to the group’s petition, Comrade Lasisi Akinsanya, the council chairman of Igando-Ikotun LCDA, said: “I commend you for not taking the law into your hands.

“I assure you that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is law-abiding and will not connive with ‘omonile’. Very soon there will be amicable solution to the issue.

“The road will be of benefit to the people of Ijegun, Ije-ododo, Ijagemo and its environs. I want to beg you to please apply caution and apply dialogue in resolving this matter. I commend the steps you have taken thus far.

“There is nothing the Governor will benefit from destroying your properties. Don’t be rigid, I have never seen a war that is won at the battle front, after killings we will still have to come to a round table and discuss amicably. The government will call you to a round table discussion”.