…as Meadows’ family commends Sanwo-Olu for granting approval
Following removal of structures on Monkey Village by Lagos State Government, the owners of the land, Meadows family and the developer, Akeem Ariori, have justified the move, claiming that the action has restored safety of lives and property to Ikeja and its environs.
They argued that the eviction of the former Monkey Village now Meadows/Amore Village occupants carried out by the government relieved entire Ikeja of the threat that had over the years became a thorn in the flesh of the residents, burgling property and vandalising their vehicles.
These clarifications came weeks after the government pulled down the structures within the village and handed it over to the owners for development following a ruling of the Supreme Court that seeded the land to the Meadows, who were the original owners of the property in Opebi axis of the state,
In an interview with Vanguard, yesterday, a representative of the family, Tosin Meadows, told journalist that the government action on the parcel of land at 1, Folorunsho Kuku Street, Opebi, Ikeja, came when they were almost given up on the property even after obtaining court judgement.
Tosin, who was elated with the removal, described the former occupants as illegal squatters and that they were never known by law to be rightful owners of the property.
The representative, meanwhile, urged the public to disregard anyone claiming to be owner of the property, saying, anything concerning the land has been handed over to Engineer Ariori.
“We have heard about some counsel advocating for their clients but we know that the government knows that very well that any tenant on the land know that the property belongs to the Meadows.
“Whatever anyone wishes to contest on the land is either to meet with the family or Ariori who the family has given to manage the property on their behalf.
“We are thanking the government for their action on this because they have restored the property to the legitimate owners. We thank the governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for standing with the truth. This is what we have not been able to do over the years. We thank the developer for assisting us to get back our heritage from the illegal occupants”, he added.
Also speaking on the action and the benefits that had trailed the eviction, the developer, Ariori, who disclosed that the owners have been denied access to their property, said: “The government has only assisted us to remove the unauthorised occupants from the land.
“This place is occupied by some miscreants who claimed to live in shanties and had mobile phones worth about hundreds of thousands of Naira.
“Even the residents have written to the state government complaining that their community has been taken over by some unidentified individuals that often vandalise their vehicles at night and sometimes burgle their homes”, the developer added.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, in a statement titled: Opebi Land Tussle: Lagos Justifies Action On Disputed Land, made available to newsmen, explained what transpired before the government finally settled to enforce court judgement.
Omotosho, further disclosed that the government, through Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, set up a committee of Inquiry following complaint raised by a legal practitioner, Monday Ubani, on the land.
The commissioner noted that findings further revealed that all the survey plans presented by both the Meadows family and that Ubani’s client revealed that the land fell within the Meadows’ family land and that the contentious land which enforcement was carried out by the government falls within the parcel of land for which Meadows family obtained judgement in their favour in Suit No. LG/513/80.
The statement reads: “In order to investigate all claims, the Committee invited all the parties involved to its sitting which commenced on 4th January until 1st of February, 2021, to ascertain the identity of the land upon which enforcement was carried out and determine the present legal status of ownership as well as the level of involvement of the State Government Agencies.
“It was established that the Lagos State Special Task Force on Land Grabbers (LSSTF) took its action based on the petition received from Messrs. Millan Solicitors, on behalf of the Meadows family, to eject the occupants of the land in contention, which harbours shanties, mechanics and miscreants.
“The petitioners tendered copies of judgements obtained from various courts (High Court – Suit No. LD/513/80. Court of Appeal – Appeal No. CA/1/92 and the Supreme Court – SC/146/1995) and other documents showing their title to the land to substantiate their position.
“Consequently, the Coordinator of the Lagos Task Force confirmed the authenticity of all documents presented by the petitioner and obtained approval to embark on the enforcement, in conjunction with other government agencies whose representatives were part of the Committee set up to establish facts of the matter – Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Ministry of Transportation and Office of the Surveyor-General, Lagos State.
“Before finally embarking on the enforcement, steps were taken in compliance with the relevant laws guiding removal of vehicles of the mechanics illegally operating on the land; removal of the shanties and ejection of the hoodlums from the site.
“The Committee members conducted a physical inspection of the land on 4th January 2020 and established that despite the demolition carried out by the Special Operations Unit, the site was still occupied by hoodlums who threatened violence and insisted that they should be left to reside at the location.
“The Meadows Family (the Petitioner) was also invited to the Committee and it was established that after the execution of the judgement of the High Court of Lagos State, some mechanics and miscreants dislodged them from the land and all efforts to remove the trespassers had proved abortive until the petition to the Lagos State Special Task Force.
“The Committee also ascertained that the Ex Parte Order submitted by Mr. Ubani was in the name of Circle Nigeria Limited but the C of O attached thereto in the name of Kayode Owoseye Akingbade – two different entities. Ubani did not also provide any document to justify that the land belongs to Circle Nigeria Limited”.