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Aftermath Of Awoyaya Demolition: Skye Bank Leaves Death, Sickness In Its Wake

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***Three dead, several in critical condition holding on to life.

Ideal businesses have limitations. There are always considerations for other people’s interests. However, for Skye Bank Plc and its subsidiary, Skye Trustees Limited, business is business.

This attitude is what has thus seen the financial institution in the center of a controversy that has to do with the demolition of over 200 houses located at a Lagos suburb known as Awoyaya, along the Lekki/Epe Expressway.

As you read, the Tokunbo Abiru-led financial institution is swimming in serious controversy, as not less than three people have died since the demolition of their properties, while several are presently in hospitals clinging on to life.

Inhabitants of Glorious Villa Community in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State, a community which housed over 3000 inhabitants recently woke up to a rude shock when tractors, bulldozer and other demolition equipments aided by over 300 heavily armed operatives from different security agencies stormed the community and their houses began to fall down one after the other like a pack of ill arranged cards.

In Mayfair, GRA, Bogije, Onaosa, all locations around Awoyaya, the biggest talking point is how Skye Bank Plc allegedly demolished homes of innocent people.

Investigations by www.theoctopusnews.com, revealed that Skye Bank Plc who is allegedly responsible for the demolition had bought a large expanse of a disputed land specifically 200.184 hectares allegedly belonging to about 55 families from four of them.

A source who spoke with www.theoctopusnews.com revealed that unknown to Skye Bank Plc about three years before they bought the land, another portion behind Greenspring International School had also been sold at the rate of N1.5 million per plot to individuals who eventually became residents there by another unit of the same family. It is this portion which is now a major cause of trouble the source revealed.

Having allegedly pulled strings within the Lagos state government, the bank was able to authenticate the whole land in their company name. As such, they allegedly approached the lawyer of the owners of the property for his clients to pay between N4 million and N8 Million for ratification.

The property owners had suggested further negotiation and had reached a compromise with the bank, but Skye Bank allegedly went ahead with the demolition of the properties with some property owners  losing personal belongings such as phones and cameras.

As you read, residents of the area are in  a state of distress and agony as majority of them now take refuge in uncompleted buildings outside of the community, while others have resorted to talking solace under the bridges around the area. The fortunate ones with relations around have had to move  in with their relations.

Speaking on the incident, Wise Iyanla  said: “I, my friends, my comrades and my families, we are closing all our accounts in Skye Bank. This is a trying moment but we will win this battle!

“As a young man in the corporate world, I strove harder to do some expensive things. One of the things I did was to strive to build a bungalow here in Ibeju Lekki axis (Awoyaya) and my land was properly acquired from the legitimate owners who originally acquired the landed properties from their forefathers as inheritance.

“All of a sudden, just last month here, I was at work when I received a WhatsApp message from a co-landlord, informing me that our properties built with our hard-earned sweat were being demolished by Skye Bank and their agent, Lekki Gardens Estate Limited  with a battalion of security personnel to protect their heinous action.

“What can I say as a young father and hustler? I said to my co-landlord, man can never be hurt. What took us years to stand, as struggling young Nigerians, were demolished in minutes.

“The most painful aspect of the story is the fact that our buildings were demolished in error because there was no court judgment that warranted the destruction of our properties and I doubt that the IG was aware of the illegal police officers outing during the criminal and malicious destruction of our properties and now that it is established, 10 billion for the accounts is feasible.”

Another affected resident, a 64-year-old widow and retired civil servant, Mrs. Oyekunle Azeez, said ever since the incident, she has been living in a church and her blood pressure had risen. “In tears, the elderly woman said: I laboured so hard before I retired to build this house, how have I offended the bank and their directors? This was all I had. Why do they want to send me to an early grave?” Mrs. Azeez lamented.

Reagan Nzeteh & Co., the lawyer representing Glorious Villa Community Development Association, has since written Lekki Gardens demanding the sum of N10 billion from Skye Bank plc and Skye Trustees Ltd for what it called trespass to land, willful/criminal/malicious damage of its client’s properties and illegal demolition of the properties in Abule Parapo Phase 2. They have also threatened to sue the trio if the money is not paid within a stipulated period of time.

In the same vein, the inspector general of police has been petitioned regarding the illegal use of over 300 police officers in the operation.

Efforts by our reporter to reach the management of Skye Bank and Skye Trustees for their angle to the development proved futile as enquiries sent to the bank were not responded to as at press time.

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