‘My neighbours denied me access to my home for 15 years’

A businessman, Martins Egbunine, has accused his neighbours of blocking him from driving into his premises in Lagos for over 15 years.

Egbunine, of 45, Nureni Agbolagbade Avenue, (now No 45, Alhaji Kareem Paku,) off Alhaji Ede Bus-Stop, Igando, said two neighbours constructed a fence on one end and a building on the other, hemming him in and preventing his vehicle from gaining access to his home.

He alleged that a former United States resident, Mr Ishola Idowu, built a fence on a portion of the road set aside as the entrance to his property, thereby leaving inadequate room for his car to go through.

Egbunine claimed that “Idowu who used his house fence at No 43, of the same street to block my property, is now forcing me to sell my property to him.”

He said Idowu’s fence was illegal and had been declared so by the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, which marked the fence for demolition for contravening building regulations.

Several years later, Egbunine said Idowu has failed to act, despite his petition.

Potential tenants, he added, have refused to rent his property because of the limited access, rendering the building fallow.

Idowu, however, told The Nation that the businessman’s claims were false and “ridiculous;” and challenged him to go to court.

Egbunine’s petition reads in part: “Briefly, I bought two plots of land located at the above address from the Igando community, receipted and surveyed. My property used to be accessed from the southern end, but when the government expanded and fenced Alimosho General Hospital, there was a common access left adjacent to number 43, my former second plot on the same street now taken away from me by Mr Ishola Idowu.

“I had started developing part of the land in 1994 after surveying the two plots before I had a ghastly motor accident, which took me away to Orthopaedic Hospital in Enugu State. where I underwent series of surgeries for more than one year and survived (I hereby attached photograph of the injuries I sustained).

“When I recovered and rejoined my family in Lagos, I visited the property and discovered that one plot had been collected by one Mr Ishola Idowu and he had started building, leaving one part on which I built a three-bedrooms flat.

“I struggled and made several efforts to recover the plot, as I went and consulted the Oba of Igando. The Oba pleaded with me to accept my fate and develop the one I had already started work on.

“When I went back for check-up at the Orthopaedic Hospital in Enugu, before I returned, my neighbour, Mr Ishola Idowu had constructed a fence and blocked an entrance to my own property, thereby denying me access to my house.

“I invited the Igando community (Omo onile) Land Seller and Landlord Association Members who went to meet Mr Ishola Idowu to plead on my behalf.

“After all efforts failed, the Igando Community and land sellers gave me a space from another street called Naiyeju, adjacent to my house about 15 feet wide as an alternative way to enter with a car, which I immediately put a small gate about 3-4 feet from my fence to the space.

“Surprisingly, one man by name Mr. Raphael (Aka) Babe Laide, a block maker very close to the space went and built three rooms on the space and blocked me from Naiyeju Street.

“For over Fifteen (15) years, I have been pleading with Mr. Ishola Idowu and Mr Raphael Baba Laide with cartons of drinks including money to give me up to eight feet space to allow a vehicle to enter into my plot, all effort has proved abortive.”

Egbunine said he offered to pay for the eight feet and even rebuild Idowu’s fence, but to no avail.

He added that apart from ignoring the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development’s directives to demolish the fence, Idowu has also shunned the similar directive by the Citizen’s Mediation Centre in Alimosho, as well as that of the Oba of Igando.

Idowu did not deny that the ministry marked his fence for demolition.

He explained that the land on which he built the fence was his, and removing the fence would mean cutting off part of his plot.

Idowu said: “He (Egbunine) is lying against me. This is ridiculous. If he has a problem, let him go to court….

“He bought the land after I bought it. You know how these Omo Oniles are. I lived in the United States back then, I didn’t want that land they bought for me at that place, at that time. It was a bushy area. So, I bought another property somewhere around and returned to the states. It was later they told me that someone was trespassing on the land, two plots.”

According to him, it appeared that the Omo Onile unlawfully sold his plots to Egbunine and asked the new ‘buyer’ to quickly build on the land, following which Egbunine built a bungalow.

He said to make peace, he agreed to split the plots, one for him, one for Egbunine. When the government expanded the general hospital, cutting off Egbunine’s access, Idowu said he further agreed to leave another access for Egbunine but not large enough for a vehicle.

“So, we left a space for him to be able to walk through…What does he want me to do? He wants to have a full plot while I have a half plot? This is crazy!

“It’s only because I am just being a gentleman, I know what I need to do that will take that other plot from him. But I am letting peace reign. What does he want me to do? Break my property on my one plot so that he can have a way to drive into his place? That is the situation my brother.”

Source: The Nation Online