Controversy stalks Lagos land allocation in Lekki Phase II

Central Lagos, recently

Central Lagos, recently

CONTROVERSY is brewing over the purported plan by certain persons and New Town Development Authority (NTDA) officials to illegally acquire land in Lekki Phase II, which the indigenes of Moba in Lekki Peninsula alleged belong to the community.

The community has already urged Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to wade into the matter through a petition signed by the Counsel to the community, Mabokunrinje Adewale Sanni, of Sanni M.M. A. and Company on behalf of the traditional ruler of the community, Chief Sarafadeen Kareem Elegushi and the entire members of New Moba Town.

They claim that the community land measuring approximately 13.043 hectares including the portion now about to be forcefully taken was duly allocated to Moba people in 1994 by the Lagos State Government by virtue of the Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) no 27/27/1994 dated October 10, 1994.

They stated,  “It was for the resettlement of New Moba people who were displaced from their original home at old Moba village in present day Lekki scheme 1, and we have been in undisturbed possession ever since.

“Indeed, the said portion being desperately sought through threat and intimidation against the community includes areas delineated and have been in use by the community for the annual Eid-el-Fitri and Eid-el-Kabir prayers by the Muslim Ummah since the settlement. It also includes the recreation ground for the youth, which are well delineated from other parts of the Lekki scheme II.

“We are neither aware of any instrument revoking the said Certificate of Occupancy nor is the land being sought by the said officials for any overriding public interest.”
The petitioners said the attempt to surreptitiously dispossess the community of the parcel of land was first noticed a few months ago when some unknown persons were coming around at different times with claims that the place were allocated to them by the government in replacement for their former allocations elsewhere, which they could not take possession of.

However, reacting to the allegation of multiple allocation of land, office of Land Use Allocation Committee, in a letter Ref. No. LU.2013 Lekki11/PL, dated July 9, 2014,  signed by Saka Dele Denapo, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary (Lands), stated that contrary to the claim in the petition that the portion of land in dispute is part of the New Moba Community land, the report of the Joint inspection revealed that the said portion is not part of the community land.

The report titled; Re: Attempts To Illegally Dispossess New Moba Community of Their Communal Land Through Constant Harassment and Intimidation by Mr. Edmond Ilogu and others in Concert with NTDA officials”, noted that “the assertion of multiple allocation of Moba Community does not arise.

“The report of the joint inspection confirmed that the hectare allocated to Moba Community is still intact and the area of land in dispute is part of the area initially earmarked as road within Lekki Scheme II. That the area of land in dispute became available due to reduction in the size of the original design of the road.

“That to avoid unscrupulous elements converting the area of land in dispute to shanties, the area was redesigned into 12 residential plots and one recreation centre and the entire plots allocated to different allottees, in which Mr. Edmond Ilogu is one of them”, said the permanent secretary.

But sensing what the community described as “officials’ insincerity”, the counsel to the community raised several posers to Governor Ambode. Among them are; Whether the community is not entitled to the 15 metre setback in their layout, and as such, should not have the “right of first refusal”, over and above the individuals to whom the said the piece of land is alleged to have sold by government to raise money as claimed in the minute of one of our meetings;

Besides, they asked whether it is consistent with public policy and overriding public interest to sell the setback for housing construction or erecting any form of permanent structure merely because government was looking for money at that period as claimed by the officials against the use of place as praying ground during notable muslim festivals and recreation uses, which the community usually use the land for?

But officials at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development who assured that the ministry will investigate the allegations and advice the Governor accordingly, questioned, whether in view of the fact that the stretch of Road 36 is delineating landmark, separating New Moba Village and general Resettlement Scheme from Lekki 11, is not an incursion into Moba community and distortion of the original of the general layout to jump/cross road to Road 36 into the community and create Block 15 A, with the claim that the same is part of scheme 11?

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