Family, Lagos’NTDA Fights Over 11 Hectres of Ajahland

A parcel of land measuring 11 hectares, laying behind Shoprite along Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie Road, Sangotedo, Ajah, Lagos State, has become a beautiful bride that the family of Oyetubo Jokotade in Sangotedo, and  an agency of Lagos State, the New Town Development Authority (NTDA) are now fighting over.

The Oyetubo Jokotade family, in a chat with this medium said the property is part of the 201.112 hectares allocated to it in 1996 by the Lagos State Government in a resettlement agreement.

The family also stated that the 201.112 hectares, described as Sangotedo Lekki Peninsula Sub-Region Block L, is covered by a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) registered as 75/75/1996AE, which was issued to them on June 17, 1996, by the Lagos State government.

The family lawyer, Tunde Popoola, stated that his clients (Oyetubo Jokotade family) has allegedly been prevented from building on or exercising ownership over the 11 hectares of land by the NTDA.

Popoola said the NTDA told the family that the state government had excised the 11 hectares from the 201.112 hectares, but that the agency provided no proof for its claim.

The lawyer stated that his clients have filed a suit against the government at an Epe High court of the State, but the NTDA allegedly continued demolishing properties on the land on three occasions.

The family lawyer claimed that last Wednesday, NTDA and Lagos State Bureau of Land officials, protected by armed mobile policemen entered the property and chased away members of the family, before demolishing three buildings under construction and a fence.

Popoola said: “It is on this basis we took it on ourselves to find out what is behind this destruction, because we have a C of O and the survey of the area was not done by the family, it was done by surveyors from the Lagos State Government at Alausa. So, what exactly is happening?

“When we went to NTDA, another story emerged that the 11 hectares was excised by the Lagos State Government because the family failed to pay a fee demanded by the government.

“I said that was not possible, because if they was the case, the government would have revoked the C of O.

“Our question is: is the Lagos State Government behind this action or a cabal within Alausa? We want to bring this to the notice of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

“This particular place they are laying claim to, if you get to survey department and input the land coordinates in their system it will bring out the family’s name.

“They said the land had been reallocated to another company. If that is the case, the name of that company is what you should find on the computer at Alausa if you chart the land coordinates, but it is not there. What is there is the family’s name.

Responding to Oyetubo Jokotade family’s claim, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) Ministry of Lands, Kayode Sutton, said the family’s C of O does not cover the hectares of land in question.

Sutton said: “The entire parcels of land wherein the demolitions occurred belong to the Lagos State Government. The lands in question were allocated by the government to new owners in 2014.

“I suspect that the owners didn’t go there to take possession, so landgrabbers began encroaching on the property and, following complaints, government waded in to say ‘No, you cannot take it, we have allocated it to a certain number of people and they have paid for it. It behoves on us as a government to uphold their right to the land they paid for”.

He added: “Generally speaking, whenever government acquires land, it pays compensation to the owner.”
Sutton explained that when such land remains vacant for a period of time, it attracts landgrabbers, who may or may not be from the land owning families.
According to him, such landgrabbers pretend to be unaware that representatives of the landowning families were compensated and begin re-selling the land to unsuspecting buyers.
“We always tell prospective land buyers to always come to the Bureau of Lands or Office of the State Surveyor-General with their survey and they will be given the details of the land. But many people don’t listen.”
Picture: an under-construction structure allegedly demolished by NTDA

About Paul Sanusi, Lagos

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