By Cosmas Omegoh
Owners of a recently demolished multi-million naira shopping complex on Nos 7, 9 and 11 Akinsemoyin Street, by Breadfruit Street, Balogun, Lagos, on Monday staged a peaceful protest at the venue, calling on the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to intervene in the matter.
The traders who came out to protest the wanton demolition of the complex on August 20, 2023, aske the governor to urgently intervene to avoid a total breakdown of law and order in the area.
The traders led by Mr Chidozie Chikelu, the developer of the complex, told newsmen that they could not understand why their building was destroyed on the grounds that it stood on government-acquired land, when another developer named Saheed Keshinro, a.k.a Saheed Marley, was allegedly currently building on it.
They are unhappy that despite repeated repeated calls made to the Lagos State government on the issue, the matter had not been resolved, while the encroacher went on building on the said land.
Spokesman for the traders, Emeka Ojiego, said they were all woken up one Sunday morning in August that officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA), Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA), Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority and a team of armed policemen were demolishing the complex.
He alleged that the building was brought down without the traders salvaging their wares.
“We were not only surprised that our building was brought down in a manner eliciting much suspicion, we were shocked that the authorities have allow Saheed Keshinro to build on it,” Ojeigo, a filmmaker said.
“It is the worst kind of double-speak we know, and we are determined to get to the bottom of the matter. The most baffling aspect of this whole drama is the fact that despite a court injunction restraining theencroacher from continuing any further activity on the land, he has continued to build in defiance of the court ruling on October 12, 2023, obtained by the Akinsemoyin family, the original owners of the land.
“We are calling on the governor to intervene in the matter,
“We also asking LABSCA, LASURA, LASPPPA and so on, to speak on the same matter.”
Two members of the Akinsemoyin family – Messrs Oyeku Akinsemoyin and Gbenga Akinsemoyin – condemned the alleged reckless invasion of their family land by Saheed Keshinro and his backers.
“The land on which Saheed Keshinro is building on after the demolition the complex built by Chidozie Chikelu, belongs to our family. We have owned the rights to the land since it was acquired in 1944.
“It is a freehold, and there has never been any contention over it till now. We the Akinsemoyin family duly signed a 15-year agreement leasing this land to Chikelu of Good Wave Resources Limited, and not to anyone else.
“We are surprisedthat despite a subsisting court injunction forbidding further activity on the land after that unfortunate demolition that took place on August 20, 2023, Keshinro has continued to work on the land, something we all view as unbridled impunity,” they said.