“As the world is preparing towards celebrating the World Habitat Day, scheduled for next week Monday, some residents in Lagos State are crying out against unlawful takeover of their landed property by the state government without due consultation and compensation.”- Independent
Representatives of Idotun family in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State, said it is unfortunate that as momentum to discuss affordable housing on the global scale is gathering, some officials of the Lagos State Government are dispossessing legitimate landowners in the state, thereby increasing the already high rate of population of the homeless in the mega city.
The spokesman of the residents, Otunba Oludare Falade disclosed to INDEPENDENT that they were afraid and worried over likely causes of land conflicts on private property, which may rear up its head in their leftover property due to expropriation of owners without adequate compensation by the state government or powerful individuals.
They are also appealing to governments at all levels to respect property rights of individuals and families as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
According to the community leader, the community comprising Eto, Ebute Kosu and Ileke, who are part owners of Epe Lagoon Area in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State have suffered continuous oppression in various ways, socially, economically and humanly.
“We own hectares of land and swamp, evidence as shown in the Certificate of Occupancy Number 65 at page 65 Volume 2009-1 dated 14th November 2009, in which token compensation without adequate consultation and compensation was paid by government.
“Deprived and debased people including slum residents all over the world are vulnerable and we are not excluded. It is for these reasons that my humble self together with my family and community desire to be heard by the world. Falade explained that the site, which is located along a coastal road within the Lekki Free Trade Zone contains several interest facilities which include family shrine and community ownership of the remaining portion of the land.
He narrated that day by day, many individuals and slum residents fight for better quality of life. Their stories, he said, are real and powerful for raising awareness around the world. It is for this reason that he, together with his family and community members, desire to be heard by the world.
Also, he maintained that interested persons and governments who have interests on anything on their property must consult them adequately, before embarking on any cause of action on the property.
“It is important to mention that the universal declaration of human rights (article 17) provides that ‘everyone has the right to own property, alone, as well as in association with others’ and that ‘no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property’. Even where compulsory acquisition of land is to be done -like where the oil well is about to be located in our land, in that case if agreed upon, compensation should address both de facto and de jure rights in an equitable manner following the principle of equivalence as well as fairness and transparency.
“Our rights and interests must be respected; remember, what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.”
Falade narrated that they are worried that some of the causes of land conflicts on private property may rear their ugly head up on their property. These, he said include: “expropriations of owners by the state or powerful individuals without adequate compensation; displacement of land owners whether by private or common ownership, without giving them their sufficient rights.
Others, he stated, include: “sales of somebody else’ private property- private person selling the property of others, especially land grabbers; leasing/renting of somebody else’s private property- that is, private person leasing or renting the property of another person.