Estate Developer, Landlords brace for war with LASG over demolition.

A real estate developer, Otunba Steve Ajose, along with other landlords and residents of Richland Estate, Shapati town, Ibeju Lekki have accused the Lagos State Task Force on Land Grabbers of unleashing terror on them.

In a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-olu, the petitioner’s lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), described the alleged invasion of Richland Estate on March 8, 2021 by “armed policemen led hoodlums and thugs with weapons” as an illegality.

According to Adegboruwa, the invaders backed by state officials, as soon as they arrived in the estate, “started shooting sporadically into the air to scare people”.

The SAN added, “They came with caterpillars and commenced the demolition of the perimeter fence of the estate. They then proceeded to demolish existing building foundations, daring anyone to challenge them. It later transpired that operatives of the Lagos State Task Force on Land Grabbers also came with their Black Maria van and other vehicles. They blocked the entrance gate of a female resident, cut off her key and replaced it with another padlock and kept her and her family locked inside the building for four days. The policemen are still in forceful occupation of the estate.”

The lawyer contended that by virtue of section 43 of the Constitution, citizens are entitled to acquire and own land without the threat of forceful acquisition by the government.

He said, “Without any court order, no one is allowed to demolish the building of any citizen. In this case, there is a subsisting court judgment that has validated the ownership of Otunba Steve Ajose over the land. The option is to file an appeal against such judgment if the government has any issue with it, and not to invade the estate with force.

“I, therefore, appeal to the Inspector-General of Police and the Governor of Lagos State to forthwith direct the policemen and operatives of the Task Force to vacate the estate and thereafter offer adequate compensation for the buildings demolished illegally.”