Untold story of how Nichemtex employed services of Lagos state govt to demolish houses built illegally on its 23 acres along of land in Ibese… how Omo-Oniles (land grabbers) duped unsuspecting buyers

For those who could remember how the Fashola administration built public housing estate at the Ibeshe axis of Ikorodu during his second term as the executive Governor of Lagos State, would recall that the parcel of land upon which the housing estate is seated was surrounded by controversy. The situation has lingered like a fire in the forest for too long, and the fire has been rekindled by resent demolition of houses on the adjoining piece of land to the housing estate.

The landmass around the estate along Ibeshe road was originally owned by Nichemtex, a textile company noted as one of the largest Ankara manufacturers in West Africa. The company had forty acres of land at the coastal town of Ibeshe while the Lagos State Government needed to build public houses for the people of Ikorodu. When the government discovered the massive land resting in vegetation, the Fashola administration approached Nichemtex management to release twenty five acres for public use. Sources told Oriwu Sun that the government gave the company choices of bequeathing a portion of the unoccupied land for public utility or face revocation of ownership of the entire land.

Since the government meant well to build low cost housing estate for the people of Ikorodu, existentially and rationally, the government had a strong point and the company had to relinquish a portion of the unoccupied land for public use. Twenty five acres of land were given up by Nichemtex and was left with twenty three hectares for itself.

The Fashola administration started the building but was completed by Sanwo-Olu’s administration. The project, a medium density housing estate totaling 325 units of mixed development of 1 and 2 bedroom flats and 3 bedroom terrace houses, was completed with standard amenities. The administration had similar other public housing estates in major Lagos divisions such as Badagry, Epe and Ikeja.

The rest of the twenty three acres of land, unoccupied and not in use, was assumed to be abandoned Omo Oniles invaded the land and started selling off portions to unsuspecting buyers. They believe that the state government had already used the portion it needed after completing the housing estate and wouldn’t be needing the rest of the land anymore.

The buyers sheepishly acquired plots of land from the Omo Oniles without making enquiry from the government agency in charge of land matters, neither did they verify the status of the land from Alausa. Having relied on what the sellers told them, the buyers paid for the plots of land without verification.

Sources told the Oriwu Sun that a plot of land cost six million naira and some buyers bought two plots at the rate of twelve million naira. They all bought the lands without crosschecking government’s record to corroborate what the Omo Oniles told them. Worst still, none of them obtain government approval before they started erecting buildings on the illegally acquired lands.

One of the buyers,a bureau de change operator from Oyo State, built seventeen duplexes on the land without getting any official approval from the Lagos State ministry in charge of housing regulations.

While all the illegal transactions were going on between the buyers and the Omo Oniles, the management of Nichemtex, who originally have rights and documentation to the twenty three hectares of land, sought the expertise of a lawyer to help them regain their land from land grabbers. The lawyer, who is a SAN and a notable legal luminary, went to work on behalf of Nichemtex Company. The lawyer obtained documents from the Lagos State Ministry of Physical and Town Planning since the land was gazzetted by the Fashola administration. The lawyer requested government permission to evict all illegal occupants of the land.

The Lagos State Government consented to the Nichemtex appeal and approved the evacuation of illegal occupants on the land. The basis for the demolition of the houses on the land, as given by government officials was that all the buildings on the land had no legal document, which were supposed to empower them right of ownership to the land. After the demolition, Nichemtex can reclaim its twenty three acres.  

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