Sanwo-Olu; CEO, Millencoast Investment Properties, Mr. Adebare Murphy; Chairman/CEO, Legrande Properties, Dcn. John Babajide Durojaiye and Area Commander, Area J, ACP Gbolahan Olugbemi* Who really owns the land opposite Novare Mall in Sangotedo – Legrande Properties, Millencoast Investment Properties or it’s Government Scheme?* Sangotedo aborigines ask: ‘Do they want our children to live in the sky after displacing us for foreigners’* We got the land directly from Lagos government – Legrande Properties’ MD, Jide Durojaiye* Millencoast MD threatens to drag two pastors before RCCG G. O. Pastor E. A. Adeboye* As Adebare and Sangotedo community accuses ACP Olugbemi of aiding and abetting land grabbing activities* Police PRO Bala Elkana remarked ‘land issues are very dangerous in investigation’* Land Bureau PRO says ‘if you feel your land has been encroached on, there is a process to go about’* Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso notes: ‘people can just mention the name of Governor to draw attention to themselves’Owning landed property in Lagos, the commercial nerve center of Nigeria is a hot cake. If the land happens to be in the Etiosa-Lekki-Epe axis, the cake gets even creamier. This is because of the choice position of the territory to the future development of Lagos. With the Lekki Deep Sea Port; Lekki Free Trade Zone; Lekki-Epe International Airport; Dangote projects including a refinery, fertilizer company, gas pipeline company, and petrochemical company; proposed 4th Mainland Bridge and several other projects emerging in the axis, getting a portion of land there is a tug of war.Flier carrying the advert of the Land as Advertised by Legrande Properties on the Internet Tagged: Alexandra Courts Estate.
The tough jostle for land involve personalities wielding varying degrees of economic wealth, political might and brute force in the rivalry. They intimidate, they eject, they claim, they reclaim, in some cases, government apparatus and police prowess are ruthlessly employed in order to achieve this motive. In this investigative reports, Oki Samson of Trek Africa Newspaper writes.The latest victims of Lagos’s unending land grabbing saga are Murphy Adebare and the Sangotedo community. And they are pointing accusing fingers at the Governor of Lagos state, Gov. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu. In fact, Mr. Adebare believes that Legrande Properties, the company that has encroached his land is either doing so on behalf of the Governor or fronting for the Governor in his bid to cut his own slice of the 3,345sq.km. Lagos land size during his tenure as no. 1 citizen of Lagos.Showing the deed of assignment he got from the Sangotedo community in his press briefing with Trek Africa Newspaper, Mr. Adebare shared his ordeal. ’28th of November 2019 I had a call from members of the family that some people have encroached in the land I bought millions of naira 10 years ago with the Ajakaye family of Sangotedo. I took my time to do due diligence before buying the land, I put perimeter fencing and road construction on the land because there is no access road there when I bought the land. I share boundary with late Awosedo who had bought land there earlier than me. I fixed the road from the express to my land. Since 2019, my engineer and the security man I stationed there have been calling me to tell me that someone has been coming severally to buy the land and I told them I am not selling. I want to build a hospital on that land because the traffic between here and St. Nicholas can be very hectic which makes people lose their lives.’‘In January 2020, my security man called me that some people are already breaking the fence on my property. I got there to find that the person that wanted to buy my land was the same person who went to reinforce from Lagos State Government to grab the land. I asked him where they got the court order to demolish the fence and he replied that they got the order from the Governor. Let me repeat, he said they got the order from Gov. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu, the Governor of Lagos state. I wondered how that could happen.
’MD, Millencoast Investment Properties, Mr. Murphy Adebare.
About two neighbors confirmed Mr. Adebare’s claim to the land. One of them, Mr. Joseph Adedayo who also sells land on behalf of the community said: ‘All what he said is true and I can even give you pictures. We help community to sell land and I witness how they demolished the place. They went to Alausa to get their backing. If they are arrested, they would be released immediately. It is a paddy-paddy thing. They know someone who knows someone in the government. They are constructing on the land as we speak. The other neighbor, Mr. Kingsley stated that portion of his 4.4acres was also encroached on by same people but he will speak no further because his own case is already in court. Mr. Kowope, the truck driver that was said to have destroyed the fence confirmed that he truly did. ‘it is Mr. Wale that transferred money to my account for which I used to carry equipment to destroy the fence.’When asked if he had taken any step to approach the seat of government in Alausa, Emperor Murphy Adebare noted: ‘I wrote a letter through Falana Chambers in March but till now they have not responded. I went there to New Towns Development Authority under the GM, Tpl O. J. Aboyeji who came personally on the day of the groundbreaking ceremony. But he told me that they thought the land is vacant and that I should come and settle it in the office.’When the GM Aboyeji was contacted by phone, he refuted saying he doesn’t know Murphy, Mr. Durojaiye, Legrande or any company and he hasn’t been to the land in person.Emperor Adebare continued: ‘I went to ACP Gbolahan Olugbemi, Commander of Area J Lekki but the people were arrested and also released by the Police without a written statement in police record. I challenged ACP Olugbemi and he boldly said to me that both of them are working for government. I snapped pictures because I know what the law says. Government does not have right to grab people’s lands and sell to another person. I got to Police Zone 2 and to my shock, they refused to arrest these people after they got a call. I then went to IGP office in Abuja where they gave us policemen who arrested and put their written statement down with proper detailing.
’Pastor Wale Aderoju of Legrande Properties
‘In the statement written by Pastor Wale Aderoju, a RCCG Pastor and director at Legrande Properties, he said that he paid Lagos State Government 300million naira to acquire my own land that I bought genuinely with all relevant documents from the customary owners of the land during the lockdown, March 28 to be exact. The policemen from Abuja ordered that they should not step on the land until investigation is completed but when we came back to Lagos, they continued their work on the land with policemen from Area J and their patrol vehicle positioned there to stop anybody from entering the land. If you go there now, you will see policemen there wearing mufti. I want the Lagos State Government to come and say before the court of law that they are the ones who sold the land to these people. According to the Land Use Act, government doesn’t have right to give land except for public use like school, market, hospital etc which they will call overriding public interest.’‘The document the Pastor presented to them in Abuja FCT police was sent directly to Lands Bureau in Alausa and they copied NTDA and Surveyor-General but they have not responded till date because they will not want to implicate themselves in land sale. My land cannot be under government scheme but even if it to what purpose are they acquiring it. Is it to sell to the rich? I know the Governor cannot sell land to them because he knows the law.’‘This people did not deny that they are the ones who did it and that the order is from the Governor. But I cannot believe that the Governor will do that because he knows the implication. I am pleading that DSS, IG of Police, Lagos CP should investigate this issue. This is crime against humanity and I can write a petition to United Nations. I am also writing a letter to Pastor E. A. Adeboye to call the pastors to order because they are agents of darkness and not angel of God because they are destroying God’s name.
’I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF OMO ONILE, WHAT WE HAVE IS A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP WITH LAGOS GOVERNMENT – LEGRANDE PROPERTIES MD, JIDE DUROJAIYEChairman/MD of Legrande Properties, Dcn. John Babajide Durojaiye
In a swift reponse to the accusations of Emperor Murphy Adebare, the Chairman/MD of Legrande Properties was also contacted for which he shared how he got access to the 10 acre land in question.The Chairman began: ‘I am a Pastor not just that I am a Pastor of peace and real estate developer of about 15 years and this will be my third partnership with government. I don’t own land but because I suffered from the hand of omo onile which has caused me a lot of embarrassment. Oceanic Bank took me to EFCC. Sometimes I will have to settle various families because I have to deliver the homes to our clients for sake of my reputation. So I decided to start partnering with government. The first project I did was with LSDPC in Igbokusu which was commissioned by the Governor in May 27 this year. So the government will contribute the land while we real estate developers build. The Governor told us that he will only give land to those who will build affordable housing because people are challenging him that he is only building for elites. So we reach an agreement on percentage sharing – whether government will have 40 units while we take 60 units to recover our money.’‘We applied in August last year to the Lands Bureau and Ministry of Housing as Legrande Properties. The Ministry of Housing said they don’t have land but will let us know if they have through their agency, New Towns Development Authority (NTDA). The Lands Bureau on 28th October 2019 told us that they gave us 10 hectares in part of their scheme in Sangotedo. They called it SkyView Scheme but we have to pay something to show that we are serious as contractor. We paid about N300million directly to the government to show commitment. It is there in the letter I submitted to the DCP I met in Abuja. Lagos State Government gave us the land on the condition that the project will be completed in 2 years or else the land will be taken from us.’‘In February I was on the land with our investors to show them only for Mr Murphy to rush there and start shouting ‘blood will flow’. I told him that I am not a land grabber and that the land was allocated to me by the government so if there is any issue, it is better for them to go to the Lands Bureau to find out.’‘Sometimes in June that the police in Abuja called us. When we reported in Abuja, we submitted our documents and they told everyone of us not to go to the land but I told them I like the decision but I will prefer that they give us a letter that I can take to the Lagos government that the police is conducting investigation because I have time that is running and Lagos will say that I am not performing which will be a breach of contract but they said that they can not give me the letter. I came back to Lagos and wrote a petition to the government stating the issues we are encountering on the land that we should leave the site. They called us that the issue has been relayed to the CP and we were told to report at the State CID where we wrote our statement and they said that we should continue and if any case arise, we should call them and from there they can know the interest of the other party as they continue their investigation.’The Chairman/MD of Legrande Properties, Pastor Jide Durojaiye recounted a similar case in which his land was revoked by government but was given back when he followed due process, ‘In 2007, Lagos State revoked one of my land for which I wrote a petition to Governor Fashola to state my position that I have physical planning approval. Governor Fashola sent Commissioner of Housing, Commissioner of Physical Planning, Permanent Secretary of Lands and the Solicitor General, Mr Pedro I cannot forget. They came and interviewed us and reported back to the governor who said they should remove our survey from the revocation because he doesn’t think they can pay our damages.’Mr. Durojaiye thus advised Mr Murphy, ‘Even if we build on the land and you know what you are doing is right, you can report to the government, the government can not cheat anybody. I told the family that I know about the land but I know that there is excision on the land in Sangotedo. All the people on the right and left of the land were given allocation by Lagos State. Why is this one different. Why is the omo onile having issue with this one. The omo onile should meet the government, if they have to be compensated, they will be compensated. I don’t see any issue on this. I will tell them to do the right thing. If I was going around during the revocation issue I will not get it solved. Today in the entire Mende area I am the only one that Gov. Fashola said they should remove our survey from the revocation. Government will listen to him just as they listened to me.’On the allegation that he has been coming there previously to show interest, Mr Durojaiye said: ‘I have not been to that land before. I don’t know anybody there. I have never bought land in that place. It is a story they are cooking up. I don’t deal with thugs but the police is in charge of law and order and I don’t want wahala of the omo onile so I secured approval from the IG for those people to be there. You can ask them in Area J.’On the development going on in the land, Mr. Durojaiye said that he is building affordable housing units because the Governor has been challenged for building only for elites. ‘What we are putting on the land is affordable home units. Mr. Governor is addressing the issue that he is building only for the elites. One thing that made Lagos State Government trust us is that we provide the estate and also provide services to the estate to make sure that 24hour power supply is guaranteed, water is no stress, security and clean environment is there. You can go to any of our estates to find out. Some of the estates we have built include Mende Villa 1,2,3,4, Cooplag Garden Estate for Shell Cooperative, the recently commissioned Courtland Luxury Villa project was a PPP between us and LSDPC.’‘My experience with omo onile is terrible. Have you paid to omo onile three times, have you been in court for three years. This is a terrible experience that I have had with omo onile hence I started working with government. I did the first no problem, the second no problem, I want to continue this way’, the Legrande MD concluded.
THE MAN DIED WHO KEEP QUIET, SANGOTEDO COMMUNITY SCREAMS ‘ARE WE GOING TO TELL OUR CHILDREN THAT GOV. SANWOOLU WAS THE ONE WHO COLLECTED THEIR LAND’Representative of Baale of Sangotedo, Mr. Babatunde Alaba Joseph
General Secretary, Sangotedo Community, Alhaji Okeowo Adisa TasiruThe Sangotedo community ascertained that this is the way of governors from years past. Government officials usually release propaganda that they want lands to build housing for the common man but it is a lie as the elites end up getting the houses. Government have never approached Ajegunle that they want to develop the area for the common man, it is still wearing the same look. It is only choice properties in Etiosa and Ibeju Lekki that tickle their fancy. Today’s Royal Gardens was earmarked for hospital but is now residential. Others include current site of Shoprite and Monastery Road. The place that used to be ancestral land where Sangotedo shrines are located have been desecrated and sandfilling as started without recourse to the Baale. ‘The government keep shouting we will gazette the land. Why do you want to gazette my ancestral home when I have not told you I want to sell. Can I go to another state all the way from Lagos and claim that your government has allocated your ancestral land to me? It is only in Lagos that this happens and we are going to resist it. Do they expect our children to live on the sky after displaying us for foreigners? Or are they moving us to another planet? The man died, according to Wole Soyinka, who keep quiet. Are we going to tell our children that a certain Gov. Sanwo-olu was the one who collected their ancestral land? We will collect all our property including the ones they collected for public use but have converted to private property. Some of them are on Monastery Road that Fashola collected, are they now used for common man? This is second slavery, this is neo-colonialism, they want to colonise us in our land. This is crime against humanity’, protested Mr. Babatunde Alaba Joseph, the representative of the Sangotedo community.On the particular issue of the land sold to Millencoast Investment Properties owned by Murphy Adebare, Mr. Tunde Alaba Joseph continued in his submission at the press briefing with Trek Africa Newspaper. ’10 years ago Mr. Murphy Adebare approached the family through the Baale that he wants to buy land in Sangotedo. With the entire representation of family, I was also there in person as well, the transaction took place and payment was made. He bought 10 acres and much later someone disposed 2 acres to him totaling 12 acres.’‘As a way of giving back to the community, we always demand that buyers employ some of our youths during construction. I am an engineer so he employed me and we started with perimeter fencing with raft foundation. It consumed a lot of money. After the fence, we started sandfilling and constructed the land. About 3 years ago since vehicles can come in, people do come in even those who have land around the place. But there is a particular man who I got to know later that he is a pastor started showing interest which I told Mr. Murphy Adebare and he told me that is not the game plan. Early this year, the security man called me that something is happening on the land. Because I live around Ajah, I quickly rushed down to find a mammoth crowd and policemen with patrol vehicle branded Task Force from Alausa. They even shot into the air to scare people away. Mr. Adebare also joined us there but they prevented us from accessing the property. I got contact with the company that did the clearing and he told me that it was Pastor Aderoju that gave them the contract. On the contrary, Pastor Aderoju is saying that it is Lagos State Government that destroyed the fencing before they came in.
’DON’T USE POLICE AS SCAPEGOAT – ACP OLUGBEMIArea Commander of Area J Lekki, ACP Gbolahan Olugbemi
When Trek Africa Newspaper visited the construction site, it was clearly seen that work is actually going on under strict and heavy presence of policemen. This was in total disregard of the order given from the Abuja FCT command which both parties agreed on. We put a call through to CSP Abimbola who noted that the case was handed over to the DCP to investigate from the Inspector General of Police. ‘We invited the parties to Abuja to avoid communal clash and ordered that all parties should not go to the land. We also filed the letter to relevant agencies in Lagos.’The Station Officer who was said to have taken policemen there, SO Kayode said: ‘as I speak to you I am no longer working in that area. I have told Murphy that I have been transferred away from that place. I don’t have connections with any parcel of land. I don’t even have power to deploy officers to a place, it is the ACP who has such powers. There is a new SO in the area. Any enquiry should be directed to the new station commander.’When the Area Commander of Area J Lekki, ACP Gbolahan Olugbemi was asked about the allegations leveled against him and men of his command for breaking his fence, he vehemently protested that he wants to have those people on the record with their claims because he will go ahead to sue if his investigation show that it is untrue, ‘I know the place you are talking about but the person is telling you lies instead of him to go to Lagos State Government, he is coming to me. What power do I have to stop Lagos State Government when they allocated land to some people. The police does not have power over Attorney General. The Commissioner of Police does not. The only person that have the power is the court. The only thing he can do is to get court injunction.’‘The police that are there are not my men, they are mobile policemen. The only way police can leave there is if he gets injunction. Land is vested in government but there is a way you can cage government not to be using police as scapegoat.’Due to the allegation of gunshots which the policemen on the land were said to be doing, we reached out to Lagos Police PRO, SP Bala Elkana. He said: ‘I don’t have a brief on this issue that you are making enquiry on. But we don’t involve ourselves in land disputes because it is a civil matter to be resolved in the law court. Where we will get ourselves involved is when there is likelihood of violence to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order.’‘Land issues are very dangerous in investigation because when you hear the various stories you will be wondering which one is the correct thing’, the PRO of Lagos State Police Command concluded.
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SPEAK ON SANGOTEDO ‘LANDGRABBING’ SAGA
Trek Africa Newspaper reached out to Lagos State officials to find out what the proper thing should be in a case like this.Our first point of call was the PRO of Ministry of Housing, Mrs. Salako who said: ‘She is not aware of the issue as the issue of land is not within their purview’. When asked if they know about Legrande Properties who accompanied the Governor to the commissioning that took place on May 27, she added that all matters should be referred to the Lands Bureau.The Public Relations Officer of Lands Bureau, Mr Harry stated: ‘this people you are mentioning are probably estate developers. The land that Lagos has there is called Sangotedo scheme and it is about N30 million per plot and once Lagos sell to you, you must have proper documents. So if you feel your land has been encroached on, there is a process to go about. You write a petition and bring the petition to our office. There is a template to follow for the petition addressed to Attorney General of Lagos State and Chairman of Special Task Force on Land grabbers, then they will surely take it from there. That is the process to follow whether it is on government scheme or private ownership.’On his part, the Lagos Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso remarked: ‘You will know that this is a civil matter and the people have reported to the police and I think the police should be able to handle that. Secondly, I would advise that the documents with all the claimants should be presented to the land registry for proper checks.’‘But for someone to say that Gov. Sanwo-olu grabbed his land, what does he want to do with the land when he has the Government House to live. Do you know that the land is vested with the government and that the Governor is the one who signs C of O for people, he is the one who has power to give to whoever he likes so long as it fulfils the legal recommendation. People can just mention the name of the Governor to draw attention to themselves.’The land grabbing saga is one that should not be taking lightly as the different parties are claiming they owned the 10 acres of land opposite Novare Mall which is currently being advertised for sale by Legrande Properties as Alexandra Court. While all the parties are making claims and counterclaims to ownership of the said property, it is important that the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu immediately order thorough investigation into the issue of the land in question. Trek Africa Newspaper believes that bloodshed based on transient wealth is the last thing that Lagosians want to have on their mind especially as the state aims to gain mastery to contain the coronavirus pandemic for which the centre of excellence is the epicenter of the country.