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Magodo land tussle: Lagos Assembly debunks secret approval report



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By Olanrewaju Adesanya
The Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Lands has described as unfounded and pure falsehood,the news report that the legislative institution made secret approval of land to the Ojoko family in Magodo GRA phase one.

The committee Chairman Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu cleared the air on the issue at hand,while briefing newsmen at the Assembly complex on Friday.
He stated unequivocally that the house is treating the matter with all seriousness to ensure peace reigns in the said environment.
Kasunmu stated that it was a shock to him and the committee members to read on the pages of newspapers that the assembly had made secret approval of land to the Ojoko family.
“Traditional owners of the land to debarred entrance into their property,is it right?
“There is no secret approval anywhere,so we don’t need your letter,instead of going about scandalizing the Lagos state House of assembly,they should come up with their position on the matter.
Kasunmu also stated that the basis of the report was faulty in that there was no resolution of the house to that effect, from which any claim of approval could be cited.
Giving an appraisal of the matter,he noted that the committee made thorough investigation scanning the processes and procedural compliance of the parties involved in the land tussle between Ojoko family and Magodo GRA Phase 1 Gateway Zone Community Development Area ( CDA).
He added that the representatives of the CDA on various occasions repeatedly avoided attendance of parleys initiated by the Committee to broker peace.
Other members of the committee present at the briefing were; Hon. Abiodun Tobun,Hon.Victor Akande and Hon.Noheem Adams they all corroborated  the fact that it was not part of the House rules for a committee to take resolution on behalf of the Assembly.
That the committee only make recommendations which would be submitted to the Assembly when the House resumes from recess.
According to Tobun the land in question  is under acquisition and there is an excision of about 8.1 hectares of the whole land yielded to the Ojoko family as officially gazetted.
“The said land in contention was at the tail end of the property acquired by government and allocated to public individuals,which the Ojoko family had an excision of about 8.1 hectares from the state.
“The layout of the land and roads linking it was also done by the Lagos State government and a genuine Certificate of Occupancy issued by same state authority as affirmed by the New Town Development Authority (NTDA).
“The ministry of environment equally advised that development could only take place on the said land, if a tripsodal drainage and a canal set back is constructed.
“I feel the CDA were only using the instrument of the body to frustrate the genuine intentions of the house”. Tobun said.
He noted that the Ojoko family is not asking for too much going by the established frames.
Hon Victor Akande was quick to add the constitutional ambit of the law that allows the assembly to embark on oversight investigation as well as initiate a parley for fact finding,he situated it in the ammended constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 128 and 129 subsection 2.
The NTDA represented by the Acting General Manager, TPL Olakunle John Aboyeji while stating views on the matter corroborated the lawmakers stance adding that they await the resolution of the house on the land .
In a petition written to the House of Assembly by the Ojoko family of Olowo-Ira, Magodo, dated 14th November, 2019, through their counsel, GV Chambers, the family stated that they had been the owner of the vast land from time immemorial and had always exercised maximum acts of ownership thereon.
The family stressed further that, ” It is trite knowledge that the Land Use Act dispossessed various land owning families including ours of proprietary ancestral inheritance for public use and common good.
It is also clear that whenever and wherever this is done, an official gazette will be issued by the government specifying the extent of acquisition.
This was done and an excision was subsequently granted to our family in the wisdom of the Lagos State government for the use of the family and our future generations”
The family explained that they were shocked, dismayed and utterly disturbed by publications of injurious falsehood emanating from one Oyebode Ojomu describing the property first as a designated green zone.
” What is of grave concern to us as lawyers and our clients is the further involvement of New Towns Development Authority (NTDA) high ranking official in this vitriolic and unfounded campaign of brash calumny. To further aggravate a bad situation, under the advice of NTDA the so called CDA Chairman has proceeded to lock out our clients from accessing their property”, stated in the petition
The family accused the CDA of conceiving the notion of appropriating the expanse of land belonging to the family.
However, the Chairman of the CDA, Oyebode Ojomu, in a letter written on the 7th January 2020, and addressed to the Chairman House Committee on Land Matters, apologied that there would be no representation of the CDA for the meeting called by the committee, stating that all they need to say on the land tussle had already been expressed at the last meeting.
” We have averred that we do not know the petitioners in law since our Mandate is limited to Gateway Zone Estate in which the principals of the petitioner has no ‘locus standi’ and we as a community not inclined to join any issues with the petitioner for whatever reasons” said the CDA in its letter to the committee
The CDA stressed that its contention would be LASG to see reasons that the adjoining canal to Gateway Estate Magodo GRA Phase 1 and 2, Otedola and Implementation Phase 2 Estate remain a wetland described as Gorge in the LASG/NTDA masterplan which environmentalist describes as Green Belt Zone.
” In an era of climate change and evident errors of government with Isheri North Scheme, Lekki Areas and the landslide, we had experienced in Magodo to keep mute and not voice out the dangers inherent in a planned environmental hazards and degradation that endangered our lives and properties to support government to take the right decisions to save lives with the criminal negligence on our part”,said the CDA.