There is panic among homeowners, property owners and other residents of Surulere neighbourhoods covering Masha Roundabout, Adelabu Road and some inner streets, as their traditional ruler, the Onikate of Ikate, Surulere, Lagos, Oba Lateef Atanda Adams, is laying claim to the entire land measuring 315.9 acres in the enclave.
No fewer than 300 buildings which fall within the land area have been marked with the inscription ‘IKD/288/68 possession taken today 30/3/2923 by court’.
Oba Adams is threatening to reclaim the entire land from the present occupiers on the grounds that the state government did not pay compensation to the family/original landowners when the land was acquired about 40 years ago, as stipulated by the Land Use Act, 1978.
He said the present property owners did not recognise or buy the land directly from the family and as such, they must present the receipts or other documents on such property and enter new agreements with the family.
Oba Adams is relying on a judgment delivered by Justice Olusan Bada of the Lagos State High court in suit No 18/118/68 on November 10, 1975 between Kasali Idewu and ORS V Ayisatu Yaya and ORS, which declared land measuring 315.9 acres as captured by survey plan number ‘AGW/263’ to the defendants/judgment creditors and affirmed by the ruling delivered by Justice M.A. Lawal of the Ikeja Judicial Division of the High Court of Lagos State on December 9, 2022.
The traditional ruler urged owners of the affected property to come with whatever documents they have to facilitate a settlement.
Oba Adams said: “They should let us sit down and settle this thing before it gets out of hand. They should come to regularise with us. They cannot win in court. They should come or else I will demolish everything. We need their cooperation. Let government call me so that we can have a roundtable.”
Recalling what really happened, one of the homeowners, Tunde Oladeji, said some individuals accompanied by about 50 men of the Mobile Police force invaded the neighborhood last week, pasting posters and marking buildings with the notice ‘Possession Taken’.
He said the situation caused jitters among most residents. He called on the government who he claimed allocated the land in the first place to come to their aid.
According to Oladeji, over 300 houses are affected.
“These are houses that were built as far back as 1972. All of these houses have been stamped with notices. There is no copy of the said court judgment. They are picketing houses at Masha axis with zinc and metal sheets,” he said.
Many other homeowners also said they never saw a copy of the court judgment.
When contacted, one of the spokespersons of the Lagos State Development and Property Company (LSDPC), Mrs Yewande Cole, said the agency was aware of the matter but urged the homeowners and residents to calm down.
According to Cole, owners of the affected buildings have been directed to provide such as receipts, survey plans and Certificate of Occupancy.
“The management is on top of it. Landlords have been asked not to panic; nothing will happen to them,” the LSDPC spokesperson said.