March 26, 2024

Group raise alarm over demolition of properties by FHA in Lagos

Group raise alarm over demolition of properties by FHA in Lagos

By Esther Onyegbula

Members of an Igbo socio-political group, Ndigbo Buru’Otu Association, have raised alarm over the indiscriminate demolition of houses carried out by officials of Federal Housing Authority in Ijeododo community, Ijegun area of Lagos State.

They stated that they were shocked over the demolition of their properties last Thursday by the authorities and described the exercise as “heart-wrenching.”

READ ALSO: No ransom was paid to secure release of Kuriga schoolchildren — FG

Addressing pressmen over the demolition, the Chairman of the Association Eze Chika Nwokedi said: “Our people are angry because they bought lands worth over a billion naira, erected structures and built houses with their hard earned money only to wake one morning and watch it being demolished.”

He explained that over 500 members contributed to purchase the vast acres of land since 2017.

According to him, we followed due process in acquiring the land from the Baale. “There was proper documentation and family receipts were issued to everyone who bought from the right source verified by FHA. No prior notice was given by FHA nor did the Baale who sold the land to us informed us about any notice of demolition.”

Lamenting Nwokedi asked, “Is it now a crime to buy land from the king of a community?

I am pained because Igbos within and outside my jurisdiction of leadership approached me to verify a genuine land as their leader and I led them through the appropriate source ‘the Baale’ who in turn issued family receipt only to find out later that the land is not genuinely owned by the ruling family but FHA.”

“When I asked those carrying out the demolition, they confirmed a notice has been passed since 2022 and they must carry on with the assignment. Right now, FHA is working on the land and has claimed it.

“We need to hear from the government, we want a refund of money spent on structures destroyed as well as get our lands back. The Baale needs to tell us what he truly knows as regards the demolition and create a working solution as some members are already contemplating suicide.”

A member of the association who owns three plots of land in the affected area, Martins Chikeze lamented that: “At the point of purchase, Baale affirmed the land belongs to his family, now FHA is claiming the same land. I appeal to the Federal Government to give the lands back to us as plans are underway to build a small home for my family to avoid threats of quit notice or displacement.”

Reacting to the complaints of members of the Association in his palace, the Baale of Ijeododo, High Chief Abu-Jelili Ayinde Ododo and his executives denied involvement and knowledge of the demolition.

He said: “One Mr Lawal who is a FHA Surveyor accompanied by some people visited my palace in 2024 claiming their land is extended to some areas in Ijeododo. After several meetings, FHA representatives said houses marked won’t be demolished but those unmarked are on the roads or blocking a canal.

“Based on this explanation, I asked for a solution to those unmarked and they requested receipt from the buyers as a way to avoid demolition.”

The Baale expressed disappointment at the sudden demolition after proffering solution to avoid it, affirming that he is genuinely bothered by the recent development. He also urged affected persons to be calm assuring that he is in control of the situation as well as gathering vital information.