By Job Ozasuwa
The landlords’ committee of Ijegun Ijedodo in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State has called on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to save the law-abiding residents of the area from the demolition of their houses marked by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
According to the landlords, the government of Lagos State acquired the right of way for the proposed road in 1972, from Ijegun Roundabout through Leye Street to Ijedodo down to Abule-Ado.
They said the ministry of lands and office of the surveyor-general of Lagos State have the original layout of all roads in the state, including Ijegun/Ijeododo to Abule-Ado, and the road is in the layout, the masterplan of Lagos State, and is well drawn and clearly stated in the Alimosho model city plan 2010-2020.
The committee said, on August 27, 2020, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development came and wrongfully marked their houses situated at the right hand side of NNPC Pipeline Road from Five Junction of Ijegun through Ijeododo to Abulo-Ado numbering over 800 houses, including 11 places of worship, for demolition in contravention of the Lagos State masterplan, which took the entire community by surprise.
According to them, the decision of the ministry has led to the death of six prominent landlords and many others, who have developed illnesses such as high blood pressure, making it one of the worst decisions to be contemplated in recent years, and that lands marked and meant for the master plan are still being sold.
In a press statement, Clement Nkwachukwu, chairman of the committee of the affected landlords in Ijegun–Ijedodo, said they have written to the governor of Lagos State, the ministry of physical planning and urban development, ministry of works and infrastructure, Lagos State Physical Planning and Permit Authority (LASPPA), Lagos State House of Assembly, Ikotun LCDA and Iba LCDA through their lawyer, J.B. Alalade Chambers.
He said in response to their letter, the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPA) visited the two sites and confirmed the road on the masterplan with landmark pillars as evidence and that the Lagos State House of Assembly also responded to their letter and invited them for meetings and also visited the two sides and promised to make the report of their intervention available but up till now they have not heard from them.
According to them, after writing several letters to the governor and other relevant agencies without any response on their intervention, the ministry of physical planning and ministry of urban development and the ministry of works on January 29, 2021 came for the second time and marked ‘Remove’ on all their properties in the affected areas.
They said that the government’s action prompted the affected community, through the landlords association, to seek justice through the court, which made the ministry of physical planning and urban development and the ministry of works and infrastructure to hurriedly organise and invited the landlords for a stakeholders meeting on February 23, 2021, where they were served a notice of removal of structures within the R.O.W of Ijeododo Road in Alimosho Local Government Area through a publication in a newspaper of February 18, 2021, for a matter that is already in court.
“They stated that the stakeholders meeting was to find an amicable solution, not to endanger their predicament. So, on February 22, 2021, they also responded to their publication on the same newspaper. On April 27, 2021 we had a meeting with the Obas of Ijegun and Iba at the palace of Oba of Ijegun where we furnished them with facts and that our position to the government is to return to the original plan,” Nkwachukwu said.
The landlords said that they did not encroach on government land, neither did they build on the masterplan meant for road construction, and that their buildings did not contravene government’s right of way and neither are they under high tension transmission lines nor blocked the drainage and are not under NNPC corridor. They added that some of them have lived there for over 40 years.
“We are not against the road construction as being alleged by our adversaries, but our plea has been that the government should go back to the original masterplan. Government officials have argued that their diversion was necessitated to save cost but at the expense of the lives of their members,” Nkwachukwu said further.
As a result, the landlords are praying that the Lagos State Government should stick to the original masterplan 2010 – 2020 and not to yield to pressure to seek for another alignment to avoid chaos, distortion of the plan and thereby denying the good people of Ijegun, Ijegano and Ijeododo the benefits that will accrue to them if that road is constructed accordingly.
In a related development, hundreds Inof women in the area are pleading and calling on the Lagos State government to leave them alone because they are suffering serious pains daily over constant harassment by government officials and Omoniles. They said unknown faces constantly threaten the community that they will demolish their houses at 2am.
And the women have vowed to go naked from Ijegun to the Lagos State Government House, if they are not left alone.