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Land Tussle: Fact finding committee submit report to Lagos Government



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THE report of a seven man fact finding panel, constituted to investigate the violent disagreement that erupted, between the youth wing of Lagos State Low Cost Housing Estate Resident Association; and the main executive body, is ready for submission to both the Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Authority and the Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
National Daily gathered that the main cause of the confrontation, between the youth wing and the central executive council of the association, is the habitual practice by the latter to distort the master plan of the 35 year old estate.
The youth wing complained that open spaces in the estate’s master plan earmarked for leisure and sporting activities, are being sold to commercial and religious holdings; and this in their view negates the vision of the Lagos State Government, the developers of the estate.
The youth wing aggressively resisted the sale of an acre of land to a developer; they claimed it was one of the three remaining open spaces in the estate.
Their resistance started in 2013 and the project was stalled until armed policemen were drafted-in in 2014 to paved way for the construction of a multimillion naira state of the art event centre on the piece of land tagged “Amen Centre”.
The youths approached relevant agencies of the State; they include the Lagos State Building and Investment Corporation, (LBIC), the Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Authority to adjudicate over the matter; but to their chagrin construction work continued on the property; with the peace of the grave yard enveloping the community.
However a seven man panel headed by Barrister Mohammed Sanni and Mr Olufemi Odeyemi serving as Secretary was constituted to look into the allegations made the youths. Other members of the panel include Mr Clarkson Biayebio, Mr Adebayo Isaac, Comrade Openiyi, Mr Goodluck James and Mr Ola Lewis.
Their term of reference is to determine the legal status of the ongoing construction on the controversial property.
National Daily gleaned from the report of the fact finding committee that the controversial property is owned by LBIC and leased to the resident association.
Paragraph 4 states that “the Lessor is the beneficial owner of the landed property known as and situate at Low Cost Housing Estate, Abesan, Lagos State comprising of a vast residential estate within which the property subject matter of this agreement is situated and which is covered by Certificate of Occupancy dated 10th day of May 1991 and registered as No 79 at page 79 in Volume 1991 of the lands registry in the office at Ikeja, Lagos State.” This abovementioned means that Abesan Resident Association has leased the land from LBIC and can sublease it to a third party.
The Managing Director LBIC Babajide Jinadu testified before the fact finding team; he explained that the resident association indeed leased the property from LBIC. He availed them a letter dated 1st December 2008; wherein the ownership of the piece of land was transferred to the association having paid the sum N214, 096.60 for the leasehold.
He explained that the resident association cannot sell the piece of land but is allowed to sublease the land to a third party it deemed fit.
National Daily gathered that the followings are the content of the agreement the developer “Amen Centre” availed the fact finding panel as having signed with the resident association.
It reads thus “LBIC is the owner of the property, the Lagos State Low Cost Abesan Housing Estate Resident Association is a leaseholder, the developer is a sublease holder, the property at any point in time will have only one estate manager/developer to manage the it, the lease is for 25 years and it is renewable for an additional 25 years thereafter and a 12 month duration is earmarked for the completion of the project.”
The Chairman of the resident association Elder Afolabi also gave the panel some documents; this medium gathered that the panel found some apparent lapses in the agreement; top of which is that the agreement was not dated, it had no stamp duty since 2013 when it was entered into with the developer, it was not registered with the land registry as any agreement above 3 years must be registered with Lagos State Land Registry, there is no government consent, the parties that signed on behalf of the association were not named for future reference and their designations were also not known.
Among the recommendations National Daily gleaned from the report to be presented to relevant Lagos State establishments by the fact finding panel include the followings; “the need for a new agreement to indicate the resident association as the owner of the property, the need to determine if the developer is a registered company, the resident association must manage seven shops in the property, the annual five percent net profit payable to the association to be increased to ten percent.”
Others include “the renewal of the clause should be removed, if not, the agreement is for 50 years, the space allocated in the building for the association meeting should be expanded and all the agreement documents should be made public and not kept as secret documents to erase doubts and suspicion in the future.”
The panel also posited that members of the youths were agitated because of the secrecy adopted by the executive body in the execution of the contractual agreement.