Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate in Lagos, Mr. Jimi Agbaje at the weekend decried corruption in land matters in the state.
Speaking at a town hall meeting at Ibeju-Lekki as part of his ongoing electioneering campaign, Agbaje accused the government of dispossessing landowners of their land without paying appropriate compensation.
He lamented what he described as continued shortchanging of landowners in the state, saying that the situation in the last 19 years in the state was for the government to resell people’s land to speculators for a pittance.
But the state government through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr. Kehinde Bamgbetan dismissed Agbaje’s claim, saying it shows his ignorance about the state’s governance.
Accompanied by his running mate, Mrs. Haleemat Busari, Agbaje tasked the people to join him to send away those he called “land usurpers in power”.
He said: “They have taken over all your land here. What is happening now in Lagos State is that landowners are shortchanged and their land stolen. These people are after what they can get from investors, not after the interest of the citizens. They tell the people that they have negotiated on their behalf and they pocket the lion’s share of the amount collected from investors. Should we continue this way?”, he asked
Agbaje who was quoted in a statement from his media office said landowners in the state would only get their proper entitlements with the overthrow of the present “vested interests” holding the state to jugular.
“Land management process in Lagos State has been done in a manner that has continued to benefit members of the privileged cabal in the state and this is not right. Ordinarily, what a sincere government ought to do is to midwife a deal between landowners and the investors who should pay the appropriate compensation to the owners. The arrangement we have now is that these people collect money from the investor and pay pittance to the indigenes and this has been the root of the crises between the indigenes and the numerous investors in the state,” he said.
Bamgbetan however, dismissed Agbaje’s claim, saying he has demonstrated ignorance on the roles of physical planning in the state.
He said it was the first Civilian Governor of the state, Pa. Lateef Jakande who declared Lagos as an urban centre and brought in the private sector to address the problem of housing and infrastructural deficit.
He said: “The statement credited to Mr.Jimi Agbaje, the PDP governorship candidate is unfortunate because it advertises Agbaje’s abysmal ignorance of the role of physical planning in a rapidly expanding urban settlement such as Lagos. It is important to educate the pretender to the governorship of Lagos that it was the wisdom of Pa. Lateef Jakande, the first civilian governor of Lagos that Lagos was declared an urban city in the context of the Land Use law, thus limiting the claims on indigenous control of land.
The foresight was to tackle the problem of housing and infrastructural development in the new Lagos in view of the mass migration into the city.
Agbaje also demonstrates his anti-private sector mindset when he refers to investors in the real estate sector of Lagos State as “speculators” and queries the public-private-partnership model adopted by the state as a developmental strategy and acclaimed world over as the best model for delivering infrastructural needs in megacities.
“The Lagos State has maintained an excision policy that protects the interest of such families to get the highest possible value on their land while attracting the private sector to partner with the government to build the roads, drainages and housing estates that will ultimately raise the value of these lands.
Credit: Daily Trust