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Sanwo-Olu calms residents, tension in Magodo

By Esther Kalu

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has calmed tension uprising in Magodo by coming to rescue of residents and property owners in the axis who became helpless after land owners surfaced overnight to reclaim the entire community following Supreme court ruling in their favour.

Sanwo-Olu apologized to the residents for the inconveniences that the invasion may have cost them, assuring them that the situation will be resolved and they can go about their activities without fear.

Due to panicking and rumour that land owners were coming into the estate to demolise properties after the court order, the main access gates to the estate were shutdown by the residents in order to prevent the invaders from having access into the community and do otherwise.

The residents claimed that the closure was necessary in order to put all actions on hold until the appropriate authority intervene and resolve issues concerning ownership of the lands among parties amicably.

Although, the gates closure did not only affect the invaders but also other activities both in and around of the estate while residents had to sacrifice their daily activities to ensure they prevent whatever plan the land owners may want to carry out within the estate.

The closure was effected on both the Shangisha as well as Secretariat gates and led to the access restrictions of people except the press in order to source for information on what led to the closure of entrances to the highbrow community.

Addressing the residents, the governor, who was represented by the Council chairman of Ikosi-Isheri Local council Development Area, LCDA, Bolanle Dada,commended the residents for their conduct since the land owners invaded their community to mark houses for demolition.

He assured the residents that due actions would be taken to ensure their adequate protection of their properties going forward.

He disclosed that a official statement would be issued by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo, to state the position of the government on the judgement and other plans for the land owners and residents.

Before now, the estate was invaded by stern-looking policemen, who were said to have been accompanied by thugs, to execute Supreme Court judgment which was said to have mandated by Lagos State government to give back 549 plots of land to the original owners of the area, before the acquisition 38 year ago.

As the policemen took strategic positions around the axis, more than 1,000 youths, apparently recruited by the Shangisha Landlords Association, moved from house to house making known the possession with inscriptions indicating that the court had given them rights to take possession of the land which the houses were built.

Also, speaking with newsmen on Wednesday, the counsel for Magodo property owners, Morenikeji Taylor, stated that the situation at the Mogodo estate was a breakdown of law and order.

Taylor described the invasion of the policemen and the thugs as illegal, saying you are trying to take possession of people’s properties without valid court orders.

“I am a resident of Magodo estate. I have worked with the legal team on this matter. The situation we are seeing is a very sad one. it is actually a breakdown of law and order. People took law into their own hands and tried to take possession of properties without valid orders from the court. The wit of possession they said they have is currently pending before the court of appeal. There is no reason they should come with bulldozers and write on walls. If you look at what was written on the wall, you’ll find that there is no court order effect on it. They just wrote the date of the case and possession taken. None of the landlords were informed or showed anything, they only said they brought thugs and police came to harass them.

I believe the Lagos state government had issues with Shangisha residents Association and the issue led to the court directing Lagos State government to allot some plot of lands to the Shangisha residents. Now, that process hasn’t taken place which might require the residents to come with evidences to prove their claims. To think that they can just jump the process, come to the estate, write and take any house you like is not done.” she said.

Taylor noted that the protest embarked upon by the resident was a fallout of the invasion of their community by law enforcement agencies and hoodlums that were trying to enforce a judgement within the estate.

“Yesterday they came with over a 1000 thugs yesterday and Magodo residents just decided to embark on the protest to complain about the situation. I don’t know how they chose the houses they marked. they also came with police today. The gates will be opened. We are filing petitions and letters against the people involved and we just need to be sure that we will not be threatened or harassed.” she said.

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