By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The House Committee On Lands at the Lagos State House Of Assembly, has debunked the media report making the round that the legislative institution granted secret approval of land to the Ojoko family in Magodo GRA Phase One, describing it as unfounded and spurious.
Chairman, House Committee On Lands, Hon. Richard Kasunmu, at a press briefing held in the Assembly Complex, on Friday, narrated the investigation processes and procedures which the committee went through on the land tussle between Ojoko family and Magodo GRA Phase 1 Gateway Zone Community Development Area ( CDA), stating that the executives of the CDA severally boycotted meetings initiated by the Committee.
Kasunmu explained that it was a shock to him and the committee members to read on the pages of newspapers that the assembly had granted secret approval of land to the Ojoko family.
The lawmakers stated that it was not part of the House rules for a committee to take resolution on behalf of the Assembly, saying that the committee only made 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 House Of Assembly of secretly approving a 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 land tussle but can only make recommendations to the House then the 40 lawmakers would deliberate on the recommendations and make resolution. I am talking you authoritatively that we did not secretly approve any land”, said Kasunmu
While clarifying further, the lawmaker stated the CDA was using the instrumentality of CDA to frustrate the investigation by the committee, stressing that it would be malicious for the CDA to have resulted to media blackmail.
In a petition written to the House of Assembly by the Ojoko family of Olowo-Ira, Magodo, dated 14th November, 2019, through their counsel, GV Chambers, the family stated that they had been the owner of the vast land from time immemorial and had always exercised maximum acts of ownership thereon.
The family stressed ” 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 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, dismayed and utterly disturbed by publications of injurious falsehood emanating from one 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 (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”, stated in the petition
The family accused the CDA of conceiving the notion of appropriating the expanse of land belonging to the family.
However, the Chairman of the CDA, Oyebode Ojomu, in a letter written on the 7th January 2020, and addressed to the Chairman House Committee on Land Matters, apologied that there would be no representation of the CDA for the meeting called by the committee, stating that all they need to say on the land tussle had already been expressed at the last meeting.
” We have averred that we do not know the petitioners in law since our Mandate is limited to Gateway Zone Estate in which the principals of the petitioner has no ‘locus standi’ and we as a community not inclined to join any issues with the petitioner for whatever reasons” said the CDA in its letter to the committee
The CDA stressed that its contention would be LASG to see reasons that the adjoining canal to Gateway Estate Magodo GRA Phase 1 and 2, Otedola and Implementation Phase 2 Estate remain a wetland described as Gorge in the LASG/NTDA masterplan which environmentalist describes as Green Belt Zone.
” In an era of climate change and evident errors of government with Isheri North Scheme, Lekki Areas and the landslide, we had experienced in Magodo to keep mute and not voice out the dangers inherent in a planned environmental hazards and degradation that endangered our lives and properties to support government to take the right decisions to save lives with the criminal negligence on our part”,said the CDA