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World Habitat Day: Lagos community tells government to respect constitution before taking over their property  



As Nigeria join the rest of the world to celebrate the 2016 World Habitat Day in October, the families of Olowobaju, Apena Ogunpodo, Falade and Idotun in Ileke Community, Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State, has urged the Nigerian government at all level to respect the constitution as it concerns the rights to property of the individual and families.

The World Habitat Day which was birthed by the United Nations in 1986 with the theme: “Shelter is My Right” was aimed at reaffirming adequate shelter which is a basic human right; focus on the conditions of cities and towns…to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future.

The families led by Otunba Oludare Falade, was speaking on the heel of land acquired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for the sitting of his petroleum refinery and oil discovered on some other parts of the areas claiming that the Lagos State government failed to consult the families involved before selling the portion of the lands.

Falade insisted that persons and government who has interest on anything on their property must consult them adequately.

“It is important to mention that the universal declaration of human rights (Article 17) provides that ‘everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others’ and that ‘no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property’. Even where compulsory acquisition of land is to be done – like where the oil well is about to be located in our land, in that case if agreed upon, compensation should address both de facto and de jure rights in an equitable manner following the principle of equivalence as well as fairness and transparency.

“Our rights and interest must be respected, remember, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.”

According to him, “Since the United Nations is focused on planning the urban future with focus to raise awareness on the need to improve the way designers build new towns and cities. There are major new challenges in the 21st century. For many people, housing is a serious problem. One third of those who live in cities (one billion people) live in slums.

“They have no access to clean water or sanitation.

“These unhealthy Conditions lead to disease outbreak and many social problems. Many cities and towns are also feeling the effects of climate change, population growth and economic instability. For example, the UN WHD noted that many lost their homes in the 2008-2009 financial crises.

“World Habitat Day is a time to focus on these problems and to start working on solutions.”

It is important to note that the failure of government to discuss the oil communities in the Niger-Delta region of the country on the royalties accrued to the communities gave birth to militancy in the region which contributed to the fall in the country’s economy to the worst in Africa.

Otunba Falade, while sharing his ordeal with our reporter said that his family and community have suffered continuous oppression in various ways: socially, economically and humanly.

“My community is called ETO, ABUTE KOSU AND ILEKE we are of Yoruba descendant presently located at   Idotun  in Ibeju Lekki  local government area of Lagos state Nigeria.

“My family and I, together with our community are the owners of Part of Epe Lagoon Area in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government area of Lagos state. We own hectares of land and swamp, evidence  as shown in the certificate of occupancy Nunmber 65 at page 65 Volume 2009-1 dated 14th November 2009. In which token compensation without adequate consultation and compensation by government.

“The site is located along coastal road within free trade zone parcel “A” Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos state, Nigeria.

“This site contains several interests as a result of the following: (i) Individual ownership of some parts of the property, (ii) Family ownership of some parts of the property, (iii) Family shrine located in some part as well as (iii) Community ownership of the remaining portion.

“Our people and our community are peace loving and we appreciate that government at all level, oil fields in large quantity will soon be located in our property and the surroundings.

“However, we are very worried that most of the causes of land conflicts on private property may rear up its head due to: (a) Expropriations of owners by the state or powerful individuals: – (1) without compensation (2) without adequate compensation, (3) displacement of land owners whether private or common ownership without giving them sufficient rights. (b) Sales of somebody else private property- private person selling the property of another person (c) Leasing/renting of somebody else’s private property- that is, private person leasing or renting the property of another person etc.

“The government of many developing countries and countries in transition are currently investing in the improvement of land administration, the primary objective, being the development of a transparent and efficient land management with goals of decreasing land conflicts.

“Land conflicts also increase social and political instability. Where ever, there occur a lot of multiple sales, evictions, land grabbing etc, people lose confidence in the state and start mistrusting each other. Social and political stability suffers even more when land conflicts are accompanied by violence.

Dealing with land conflicts, Otunba Oludare Falade, therefore maintained that it should be a means to re-establish trust and confidence in public as well as private institutions.

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