By Kingsley Adegboye
Lagos State Council Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Qasim Akinreti, has assured subscribers to the NUJ Mowe land of his administration’s determination to find a lasting solution to the controversy surrounding the land.
He made this pledge when he led a delegation of the state executive council (SEC), and other stakeholders to the NUJ site in Mowe, Ogun State.
The NUJ Mowe land has been enmeshed in crises, following a controversial housing project initiated by the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, President, Mrs. Ify Omowole.
During a tour of the 56.753 hectares of land, the team expressed shock at the state of affairs on the land, which was bought over a decade ago by the union.
A member of the delegation and The Nation’s NUJ Chapel Chairman, Comrade Musa Odoshimokhe, lamented that no development had taken place on the land. He said it was regrettable that given the peculiar situation journalists in the country had found themselves in, self-help programmes initiated by the leadership of the union to provide shelter for its members had been left to not only waste away, but be a subject of embarrassment to all.
Out of the 56.753 hectares of land, less than a plot of land was fenced, despite the fact that subscribers had paid N60, 000 for perimeter fencing per plot more than five years ago to the immediate past administration of Mr. Deji Elumoye.
Stakeholders also rued the uncompleted gate house and iron gate,which they claimed not only fell short of standard, but has suffered from corrosion due to long years of inactivity on the land. The survey pillars, the stakeholders said, have been washed away.
The NUJ state executive council also condemned in strong terms, the three uncompleted structures on the land, built by the developer, Primewaterview Holding Limited, pointing out that the structures did not only fall short of expectation in terms of standard, they did not justify the amount members were made to pay to the developer.
“This is not the type of house they told us we will get. This is exploitation and it is a shame. A lot of our members had high hopes of owning their house through this project, but now, this seems like a shattered dream,” Odoshimokhe lamented.
The Investigative Committee on the NUJ/NAWOJ Pen Jewel Estate Project Chairman, Mr. Fabian Anawo, briefed members on its findings. He said the committee was doing its best to find a lasting solution to the Mowe land debacle. He therefore called on the subscribers to be patient and wait for the report of his committee.
“We are aware that subscribers are agitated. We share their feelings and pains. But soon, we shall find a solution to the debacle. Please just tell your chapel members to be patient with the Lagos NUJ administration,” he appealed.
Similarly, the committee’s secretary, Mr. Muyiwa Lucas, likened the NUJ/NAWOJ Mowe land issue to a ‘cobweb’ which has to be untangled with utmost patience. Lucas assured the SEC that the committee’s recommendations, which will be presented at the February NUJ congress, will be far reaching.
“Major actors in the land issue have been interviewed by the committee, including the surveyor and omo oniles. Although the situation is messy, yet, it is not beyond redemption. However, what form of redemption to adopt will be decided by congress, because they have the final say,” Lucas said.