The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, summoned the Attorney General of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to appear before it over plans to seize the property of the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Abdulaziz Yari.
Justice Nkeonye Maha, who gave the order after listening to the arguments canvassed in a motion exparte by counsel to Yari, Mahmud Magaji, SAN, adjourned the matter until August 30.
The motion ex parte, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/948/2019, was brought pursuant to section 46(1) and (3) of the 1999 constitution and order 4, rule 3 and 4, of the fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) rules 2009.
The AGF is the 1st respondent while the EFCC is the 2nd respondent in the suit.
Justice Maha equally ordered that the respondents be served with the court processes within 48 hours before he adjourned further proceedings.
The Lagos State government yesterday debunked news circulating on the social media that it had earmarked the Abraham Adesanya housing estate located in Ajah for demolition and rebuilding into a luxurious estate. Government also denied reallocating new houses to former landlords in the estate at a new location.
In a letter signed by the permanent secretary, Lagos ministry of housing, Mrs. Olayinka Patunola-Ajayi, and addressed to the facility manager of the estate, the ministry said government is “proposing nothing like that” and urged all homeowners/resident of the estate to disregard the information.
The letter reads: “I am directed to discredit the fake news and let you know that the ministry is proposing nothing like that and that all home owners/residents are advised to disregard this information. You are by this letter, requested to allay the fears of homeowners/residents and stakeholders”.
Also debunking the news, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Titilayo Ajirotutu, who spoke with The Guardian on telephone, said there was no plan to demolish the estate.
Abraham Adesanya Estate is the property of the Lagos State government leased to occupants. It is a middle-class residential estate where all houses are strictly commercial.
According to investigation, following the purported news emanating from social media users some days ago alleging of plans by government to demolish the estate, some landlords had begun processes to sell off their buildings at cheap prices.
Similar eviction notice scare also became public four years ago, which made many of the residents to panic.
Some structures within the premises of Daar Communications have been demolished, following a directive from FCT administration.
The organisation’s TV station, AIT, beamed it live from the scenes of demolition.
The land dispute between the authorities of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and DAAR Communications Plc, owners of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower has lingered despite promises by the two parties to resolve the issue amicably.
It would be recalled that the two warring parties had on November 2018 resolved to tow the path of peaceful resolution of issues surrounding a portion of land occupied by DAAR Communications Plc.
During the November 2018 reconciliatory meeting, the duo had mutually agreed to reach an out-of-court settlement that would bring about permanent solution and forge ahead with the development of the FCT and the nation.
During the meeting, the Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Bashir Mai-Borno, who led the FCTA team, harped on the necessity for not complicating simple issues, while assuring that the current administration would solve the matter amicably, satisfying all the parties involved.
Mai-Borno said while pointing to the problem areas on a satellite image map, exhibited an in-depth knowledge of the situation, and effectively explained the knotty issues about the landed property to High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, owner of DAAR Group and his team.
He, however, directed an immediate on-the-spot investigation of the area and appealed for calm, promising that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, would finally resolve the matter in a manner that all parties would be happy.
He added that the physical visit was necessary to determine the true position if claims and counter- claims by all parties, including complaints lodged by allottees that their plots had been subsumed by AIT, and that they do not have access to their land.
But the latest development has shown that the FCTA might not wait for settlement as buildings have already been demolished in the premises.
The Ogun State Ministry of Housing has again allegedly demolished 40 houses inside the Regal Estate in Magboro area of the state.
The demolition took place barely three weeks after a similar exercise was carried out allegedly in collaboration with the Mission to Rebuild (MISTRO) and the Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC).
It was reported that on April 1, officials from the ministry of housing stormed Gan-un village and demolished a church and houses belonging to a widow, Mrs. Bukola Shittu, and other residents.
The residents of the village, whose houses were not affected, thought it was over until April 3, when the officials from the ministry stormed the village again with caterpillars and pulled down about 40 houses.
When our correspondent visited the place, some of the affected owners of the house were seen trying to salvage some of their belongings after the exercise.
Even the police community has not escaped incidents of building collapse. More than eighty Nigerian police families are scheduled to lose their housing to demolition at the Ikeja highway police barracks. Police say they are on the chopping block as a result of structural defects.
This might not have become so urgent if not for a building in the barracks that collapsed and killed two persons.
In another incident in the same barracks during the time of police commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, News Agency of Nigeria reports that a sergeant and a civilian lost their lives on Christmas day when a part of the bathroom in their unit in the barracks collapsed while they had their bath.
Owoseni ordered a demolition of the building at that time.
Maigari Dikko, Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of works says some of the occupants in the barracks had been instructed to vacate the defective buildings for a long time, but they are still there.
He said the force is looking at ways to rehabilitate all defective buildings in all barracks across the country to avoid a repeat of the collapsed barracks building.
The Lagos State government has identified 149 distressed and defective buildings and marked them for demolition.
Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, revealed this on Sunday after five houses were demolished on Lagos Island by the state government.
The commissioner said of the 149 buildings, 40 of them have been demolished.
Ogunleye stated that the demolition was done in order to avert the repeat of the collapse of the building in Ita Faji area of Lagos Island last Wednesday, that led to the death of 20 people. Many people were also injured in the incident.
The houses demolished on Sunday were 25, Elegbata Street, Apongbon; 199, Tokunbo Street; 27, Inabiri Street; 16, Egatin Street, and 45, John Street.
Ogunleye added that the state government would comb the whole state for structurally defective building, and advised landlords whose houses have been marked to either demolish them or risk forfeiting the houses to the government.
Speaking on how people secretly move into marked-for-demolition buildings, Ogunleye said: “In some instances, where the owners and occupiers were served with notices and evacuated, people secretly returned to re-occupy the buildings, despite the sealing off of the structures by the LASBCA.”
He warned that the government would invoke Section 74 of the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law and move to take over any house or building that collapses due to the “negligence of owner or developer in the state”.
The federal government has said it would demolish houses built on waterways that violated the master plan in its housing estates.
Minister of state, power, works & housing II, Surv Suleiman Zarma disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the inspection tour of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) estate in Lugbe, Abuja, in company of the managing director of FHA, Prof Mohammed Al-amin. FHA Lugbe, which is the second oldest estate in Abuja apart from the one in Karu area of Abuja, is taunted by poor road network, poor waste management and illegal encroachment, which raised questions on the need for residents to embrace maintenance culture.
The minister noted that federal government would pay compensation to owners of legal houses that would be affected during the renewal of FHA Lugbe adding that illegal structures built on waterways would be demolished without compensation. Zarma linked the current state of the estate as flagrant abuse of planning regulations by the residents and government staffs as well as the failure of the past administration to upgrade the existing infrastructures. The minister stated that the existing infrastructure are overstretched given the increased number of families that were not captured in the master plan, noting that he would liaise with FHA to review the plan and enforce areas earmarked for hospitals, schools and among others.
Also speaking, the managing director of FHA, Prof Mohammed Al-amin hinted that federal government has spent about N100 billion in building new houses from 2016 till date, stressing that FHA is currently utilising N10 bn in building houses in Zuba and Kwali. Al-amin emphasised that FHA together with Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) stopped getting funding for more than 13 years until last year, saying that the N150bn seed fund agreed by federal government to be released to agency has not been released till date.
He pointed out that federal government has earmarked some money for urban renewal which would cut across FHA estates and local neighbourhood. In carrying out the renewal, Al-amin asserted that federal government would mobilise resources from other sources, stating that discussions are in progress with UN habitat for special intervention fund on urban renewal likewise from Shelter Afrique on slum upgrade. The MD expressed dissatisfaction over the illegal encroachment in FHA even as he lamented that the 20 metres space supposed to be left as floodable area is less than 5 metres.
He stated that FHA is in close collaboration with the FCT administration to enforce compliance of the Lugbe master plan irrespective of the social status of the violators adding that this is the first time any government would be building and maintaining existing infrastructure. On his part, the chairman, Lugbe residents association, Mr Adesina Odelana sought the intervention of federal government in building alternative roads in the estate, supposed to be housing almost one million people. While noting that the existing facilities at the estate are overstretched, he requested for the construction of police outpost, hospitals, schools and water. He said though the estate have been upgraded as Federal Capital City (FCC) that the residents are yet to reap the dividends of the upgrade.
Irked by the demolition, thugs in the area attacked government officials, who were escorted to the area by police officers, and vandalised six vehicles.
The attackers broke several windscreens, side mirrors and other vehicles parts with stones and even blocked the road with a Toyota Camry daring the government officials to leave the area.
During the attack, a cameraman with the Lagos State television received a deep cut in his hand with blood gushing out.
The police were able to salvage the situation without shooting or using teargas.
The government officials demolished the building located at No. 77 Ogunmokun Street, Mushin with a bulldozer as the owner had no building permit.
The owner of the building was said to have been served stop work notice since January, but continued illegal development of the property.
Also, 11 other buildings were sealed by LASBCA in Mushin. The affected structures had no building permit and other documents.
General Manager, LASBCA, Engr. Olalekan Shodeinde had said it was no longer going to be business as usual as government was determined to get rid of illegal development across the state and stem the tide of collapsed buildings.
“Before now, we have been civil in our enforcement, but the developers have remained recalcitrant by continuing in their illegal development. Most of these developers don’t have submission talk less of having permits,” he said.
Shodeinde added that whenever a building had been shutdown, the agency’s officials toke the building so that their owners would come forward to regularize their papers, as well as pay the necessary fines.
According to him, LASBCA should not be running after illegal developers if they did the right thing by obtaining their building permits and submitting other documents for approval.
“Most of these illegal developments were done at night with substandard materials being used. They don’t get the needed permit or follow due process before erecting them,” he said.