Lagos Residents Slam Agency Over Demolition Plans Despite Court Order

The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) and the State’s Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has been accused of an attempt to illegally demolish properties in Lekki, despite a court order and a directive from Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

One of the residents whose house has been marked for demolition, Kenneth Odidika, told journalists that LASBCA has been trying to dispossess him and his neighbors of their properties, citing various reasons that have been debunked.

He alleged that the agency is acting on behalf of a company which claims ownership of the land.

However, Odidika stated that he owns the land and possess a Certificate of Occupancy and Governor’s Consent, which LASBCA has acknowledged.

Odidika said, “Early in December 2022, LASBCA informed us that a certain company, Minkus Nigeria Limited (the Petitioner), is claiming that we were squatters on their land. They subsequently served us with Contravention Notice, and we successfully showed we were authentic residents.

“Then they said we didn’t have Development Permits. We produced our Permits, including C of O and Governor’s Consent which they duly acknowledged. Thereafter the Petitioner went to court to challenge our title. We responded with proof of ownership, forcing them to withdraw the case from court. We thought we were going to have some respite, but then again LASBCA came with the issue of building outside approved design, and fortunately for us, HE the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwolu, announced a 90-day amnesty window effective May 2, 2024 for people to make good such shortcomings.

“We immediately applied for assessment and processing, but LASBCA refused to attend to us saying that there is a directive that they should not accept drawings and documents from the Maiyegun and Ologolo (families) for processing as the land was in dispute. They used the Chairman, House Committee on Physical Planning, Honorable Sylvester Ogunkelu, and the SA on Urban Development to try to intimidate and harass us. In fact, Honorable Ogunkelu, on May 8, 2024 came with an overwhelming force of fully armed Policemen to mark the buildings he claimed belonged to Minkus Nigeria Limited. He was asking the surveyor that came with him if he could get up to 44 plots from the land.

“In view of this, we promptly obtained an Order of Court on May 30, 2024 directing all parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of the case.

“However, they refused to obey the court order. The 90-day amnesty window is yet to expire, yet LASBCA came again on June 11, 2023 to mark our houses for demolition for the third time, foreclosing the possibility of any of us taking advantage of the amnesty graciously given by HE which incidentally is meant to expire on July 31, 2024.”

Other residents called on the governor to intervene and put an end to LASBCA’s harassment. They claim that the agency’s actions are causing them significant distress and that they are living in fear of their homes being demolished.

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