Landlords and residents of Taro-Ilegbun Community in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos state have raised alarm over attempts by the Lagos State Government to demolish their houses and seize their lands which they claim to have legally acquired and habited for decades.
According to the aggrieved community members, led by executives of Taro-Ilegbun Community Development Association (TCDA), during a peaceful protest at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, on Monday, they have been in undisputed possession of the said lands for more than 49 years, with over 3,872 families settled in the community.
In a letter and addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Land bureau, Secretariat, Alausa Ikeja, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Honourable Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, among others, the community members made their demands known as they appealed to the government to save them from impending homelessness.
The letter, captioned “RE: REQUEST FOR TARO-ILEGBUN COMMUNITY LAND REGULARIZATION AND REQUEST TO HALT THE DEMOLITION OF TARO-ILEGBUN COMMUNITY LAND” reads; “We, the representative of the above named Community Development Association hereby write to request for the regularization of our entire community Land Title for the Grant of a Right of Occupancy.”
“Sequel to our letters to the office of The Permanent Secretary Land Bureau and New Town Development Authority (NTDA) dated 4th day of October, 2020, and 18TH day of January, 2021. Endorsed on the 21st day of January, 2021. At 12:15pm, the File Number with the Land Bureau DLR/PF/436 we seek your indulgence with the above request.”
“We have been in undisputed possession of the said land for more than 49 years, with over 3,872 families settled in the community. Some of us are retired civil and public servants who have labored for the development of the State and the TARO-ILEGBUN COMMUNITY, IBEJU LEKKI, LAGOS STATE. We have made the community our home and we do not have anywhere else to go.”
“We hereby appeal to your good office to help us secure our titles to this land. Therefore, we seek your assistance in regularize our titles to these lands. We believe this will not only aid the housing program of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, but it will also add to the revenue base of the Government through the Land Use Charge.”
“We pledge to carry out all necessary processes or activities that are required to successfully regularize our titles to the lands and continuously pledge to carry out developmental projects of the community to be in tandem with the Lagos State Master plan.”
“Thank you for your swift anticipated response.”
Pastor Patrick Justine Okon, the Chairman of the Regularization Committee of Taro Ilegun Community and their spokesperson noted; “The response from representatives of our executive governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu confirmed the real character our listening and people oriented Governor, whom I know personally and strongly believe will save our properties. We have spent all our lives in Lagos state, we contributed to the development of Lagos, we pay our taxes in Lagos and have no other place to call our home.”
Adding, the Chairman, Taro-Ilegbun Community Development Association, Mr. Olakunle Samson, said; “I’m the Chairman of Taro-Ilegbun Community Development Association. Our mission here today is to appeal to the Lagos State Government, led by our amiable Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to look into the demolition notice served us in our community.”
He added, “We have undisputedly habited these lands for more than 40 years; we have applied to regularize our titles to these lands to no effect, now we have been served notice of demolition of our properties. Where do they want us to go to? We have nowhere to go to. These properties are all we have, if they are demolished where would we start from?”
Speaking further, he said; “We are appealing to Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu to use his good office to look into the matter and help us resolve it amicably so that we won’t be thrown into unwarranted sorrow, hardship and eventual homelessness.”
However, while addressing the protesters, the lawmaker representing Ibeju Lekki Constituency 2, Hon. Abdulraheem Adewale appealed to them to exercise patience, promising that their complaints and demands would be conveyed to the appropriate quarters for further actions.
He said, “When matters like this happen, patience is the best solution because there is never a problem without solution. Just as the law stipulates, you have followed by coming here to stage a peaceful protest, expressing your grievances.”
Speaking further, he urged them to maintain law and order so as to drive home their grievances and demands in a manner that will elicit positive results.
“As you have done the right thing by not applying violence in expressing your grievances, I urge you to keep it that way because that is the only way you would be heard. If you have written down all your demands, we will pass it on to the appropriate quarters for further actions”, he said.