On August 16, 2017, Adejoke Alabi received a call from her security guard telling her that a group of men from the Lagos State Government Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, along with 36 fully armed policemen and about 50 area boys, took possession of the Lagoon View Estate along Ibeshe Road, Ikordu, Lagos. Soon after, they demolished a total of 16 properties in the area, including those belonging to Mrs. Alabi.
After the incident, those affected by the demolition went to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development for answers. They were met by some of the police officers that helped demolish the properties, who informed them that somebody wrote a petition alleging that the land on which the properties were built belonged to him.
However, Mrs. Alabi and the other property owners never received a court order or a notification of the petition.
“I don’t know who the owner of the property is. The CFO never came to me and told me that someone holds or owns the land. It would have been right if we had gotten a notification. Even if you’re the owner of the land, in a country that has laws, you can only go to the court. But there is no court judgment, there is nothing, and they think that they can just do anything,” she lamented.
“We heard that they even bribed some of them at the [police] office and arranged the demolition.”
Mrs. Alabi, along with other property owners, have now written a petition to Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode to protest the demolition of their property. Mrs. Alabi has also written her own personal petition.
“I wrote my own personal petition to the governor. I don’t know what they have at the ministry, but on my end I know I have all my paperwork. The notification on my CFO actually came out for a 21-day notice and passed.
“I did my survey and I was told that I wasn’t on government property or anything. They came to do the assessment on my building plan in November 2016. On January 2017, I went to go make the payment. I have made all the necessary payments that I am supposed to make to the government,” she said.
Mrs. Alabi’s two properties on the estate cost her some millions. The demolished properties on the estate were worth a total of N500 million.
Protests at the governor’s office began on Monday after a permit was acquired to protest. Many are hoping to get the exposure necessary to get answers from the government.
“Whoever does this is a bully, because I know that it might be somebody that is influential that is hiding behind these people and using all their power,” she said.
“Maybe when we start protesting and bringing all this out to people in the public, then maybe the governor or people in the government will say something. Maybe the person will actually come out and show us what he or she has on that land.”
See the petition filed by residents of the demolished estate below: