*Land belongs to govt— Agency
MESSRS A. J. Missri & Company Limited, operators of poultry farms in Aba, Abia state, has decried unlawful occupation of its landed property located on 23, Breadfruit Street, Lagos Island by the Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency, LASURA.
The property in question is an expansive bungalow comprising 25 lock up shops occupied by traders as tenants built over 30 years.
The Managing Director of the Lagos-based company, Nze Edozie Okafor, while addressing a press conference on the alleged illegal occupation of its property by the agency recently, said the property has a certificate of occupancy issued by the state government which was registered as LO2059 at the Lands Registry, Alausa Secretariat. He added that LASURA is well aware that the property has a legal title.
According to Okafor, who said there is no reason one should be dispossessed of his property unlawfully: “In line with the due process policy of this regime, any property owner who is found guilty of running foul of the state’s urban renewal laws or policies, must be duly served with eviction notice before any action could be taken on the property in question.
“Even our title was not revoked by the state governor before the appropriation of the property by LASURA, nor did the agency obtain a court order to embark on the demolition in order to forcefully acquire the property. Information reaching us indicates an unlawful and unconstitutional attempt on the part of the LASURA’s top officials to compulsorily acquire our property in breach of the provisions of S. 44 of the 1999 Constitution in order to transfer same to certain powerful individuals who believe that as indigenes of Lagos State, they are above the law. We responded that if the property was acquired as being claimed by you, it would have shown in the Land Registry. But LASURA’s General Manager could not defend his claim.”
Commenting on the demolition, the company’s lawyer, A. A. Oneyibo noted that the action of LASURA contravenes the provisions of Section 2 of the new Lagos State Properties Law 2016, known as the Anti-Omonile Law, signed by the state governor. But reacting to the issue, Mr. Lateef Sholebo, General Manager, LASURA, simply said the land belongs to the government. The government has taken back its property. He added that those who are claiming ownership of the premises can proceed to court of law to challenge government’s action.