Nigeria: Lagos Homeowners Seek Compensation After Demolition of Multimillion Naira Houses

Nigeria: Lagos Homeowners Seek Compensation After Demolition of Multimillion Naira Houses

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

Residents of Mende Estate Villa in the Maryland area of Lagos State are expressing their discontent over the recent demolition of their valuable homes by the Lagos State Government. They are now demanding compensation for their losses and a new place to live.

Our correspondent visited the area and witnessed the devastation caused by the demolition. Residents were seen hurriedly packing their belongings and leaving their homes behind. Speaking to , some residents lamented the difficulties they now face, having been forced to leave their houses without an alternative accommodation.

The demolition was carried out to reclaim the Odo Iya Laro drainage channel, according to the state Commissioner of Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab. However, this action has drawn criticism from popular Nigerian singer, Yemi Alade, who believes it will discourage real estate investment in the state.

A member of the resident association, who chose to remain anonymous, revealed that they had attempted to negotiate with the Lagos State Government but were ignored. They were not given any prior notice before the demolition started on Saturday.

“The Lagos State Government came and said they wanted to demolish the place. They did not serve us any letter of demolition. We were negotiating with the government yesterday (on Saturday), and before we knew it, they just moved in with their bulldozer,” the resident said.

While acknowledging the presence of miscreants in the estate, the resident emphasized that the security guards were doing their best to prevent theft. However, the government has not provided any explanation regarding the purpose of the demolition.

Kayode, another resident, stated that no discussions have taken place with the residents so far. He expressed hope that the government would engage in dialogue with them. He also mentioned that the demolition had already started in other areas near a bridge, and they never expected it to reach their estate.

The issue may potentially end up in court, according to Kayode, who believes that the appropriate party will eventually prevail. He mentioned that the houses were built with government approval, and the residents followed all the necessary procedures.

Tega, another resident, described the government’s two-hour notice to vacate the estate as their worst nightmare. She explained that they were not given any prior notification and were only informed on Saturday. Many families have already moved out, and those remaining are picking up the pieces of their lives.

In response to the residents’ claims, the Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, stated that several meetings were held with the residents before the demolition. He denied the allegation that they were given only two hours to leave and shared videos of the meetings held with the community.

According to Omotoso, the government’s intention is to prevent flooding and protect the larger community. He emphasized that the government cannot be heartless enough to evict people without prior notice. The issue of compensation for building on drainage channels is not supported by the law, he added.

The residents of Mende Estate Villa are now left to grapple with the aftermath of the demolition and seek justice for their losses. The situation may escalate further as they consider legal action to defend their rights.

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