The Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Lands has denied media report that the legislative body secretly approved land for the Ojoko family at Magodo GRA Phase One, describing it as spurious and unfounded.
Debunking the report on Friday at a press briefing in the Assembly Complex, the Land Committee’s Chairman, Hon. Richard Kasunmu, said the committee was only mandated to investigate the cause of the land tussle between Ojoko family and Magodo GRA Phase 1 Gateway Zone Community Development Area (CDA) and that it had only made recommendations which would be discussed at the plenary before a resolution was reached.
He expressed surprise at the report that said the Assembly had granted secret approval of the land to the Ojoko family.
He narrated the committee’s efforts to bring all the parties to the dispute to a round table but lamented that the executives of the CDA had severally boycotted meetings initiated by the committee including the press briefing.
Kasunmu and his colleague on the committee clearly stated that it was not part of their brief to take resolution on behalf of the Assembly, insisting that their role was only to make recommendations which would be submitted to the Assembly when the House resumes from recess.
“It will be very wrong for the Magodo Zone CDA to blackmail and wrongly accuse this noble legislative house of secretly approving land to the Ojoko family when we are yet to present before the Assembly, the report of our investigation.
“As a committee, we cannot make resolution on the matter; we can only make recommendations to the House, and then, the 40 lawmakers would deliberate on the recommendations and make resolution. I am talking to you authoritatively that we did not secretly approve any land,” Kasunmu said.
In a petition written to the House of Assembly by the Ojoko family of Olowo-Ira, Magodo, dated November 14, 2019, through their counsel, GV Chambers, the family stated that they had been the owners of the vast land from time immemorial and had always exercised maximum acts of ownership thereon.
The family said: “It is trite knowledge that the Land Use Act dispossessed various land owning families, including ours of proprietary ancestral inheritance for public use and common good. It is also a common knowledge that whenever and wherever this is done, an official gazette will be issued by the government specifying the extent of acquisition. This was done and an excision was subsequently granted to our family in the wisdom of the Lagos State government for the use of the family and our future generations”
The family explained that they were shocked and utterly disturbed by publications of injurious falsehood emanating from the CDA chairman, Oyebode Ojomu, describing the property first as a designated green zone.
“What is of grave concern to us as lawyers and our clients is the further involvement of New Towns Development Authority’s (NTDA) high ranking official in this vitriolic and unfounded campaign of brash calumny. To further aggravate a bad situation, under the advice of NTDA the so called CDA Chairman has proceeded to lock out our clients from accessing their property,” the petition read.
The family accused the CDA of conceiving the notion of appropriating the expanse of land belonging to the family.
However, Ojomu, in a letter to the chairman, House Committee on Land Matters, apologised that there would be no representation of the CDA for the meeting called by the committee, stating that all they needed to say on the land tussle had already been expressed at the last meeting.