Residents in Lagos have bemoaned the failure of the State government to allocate lands to them, ten years after making payments.
They complained that the government refused to refund them or reply to letters on the issue.
It was gathered that the Land Bureau of the Governor’s Office, in 2009, advertised allocation of land at Orisan Water Front Residential Scheme, Lekki, and Millennium Residential Scheme I, Igbogbo, GRA, Ikorodu.
It was also gathered that successful applicants were issued allocation letters which they used to make payments.
A resident, Mr Olutayo Obikoya, said he bought a plot of land in Igbogbo for his daughter as a graduation gift for graduating. However, till date he hasn’t been able to build on the land as the state government had yet to allocate plots to the buyers.
Obikoya said: “In 2009 when my daughter was about to complete her first degree, I promised to give her a parcel of land if she did well. I bought the land for N455,412 at the Millennium Residential Scheme I, Igbogbo in her name and gave her after she graduated.
“I got an allocation letter from the Land Use Allocation Committee dated April 18, 2009, stating the money I was supposed to pay. It was fully paid. When my daughter got married, she and her husband wanted to build on the land but they could not proceed.
“After several complaints, one of the officials at the Land Bureau told me there was no land at Igbogbo and advised me to apply to another place in Agbowa. He said I would pay additional money.
“I was surprised. If they would take me to another place, they shouldn’t ask me to pay additional money. I told him that I was not sure of getting another land if I paid. He then advised me to apply for a refund.”
He lamented that since his daughter applied for a refund in 2016, they had not received a feedback from the state government.
He added, “I went there one day and told a woman I met that what the government is doing is worse than what land grabbers are doing. This is like fraud. My daughter relocated to the United States of America three years ago. If she had got the land, it might have tied her and her husband down here in Nigeria. My wife is in the same boat. She bought a plot at Igbogbo and also applied for a refund, but nothing happened.”
Another affected buyer, Mr Sola Sessi, said some of them wrote to the state government about three years ago, requesting a refund of their payments.
He said that the government promised to act on their request but had not shown any commitment since then.
He said, “I bought the land in Igbogbo in 2009 but till now, I have not heard anything from the state government. Those of us affected sent an application to the government to refund us if they cannot give us the land we paid for. The government should not owe the citizens.
“They collected the letter and promised that we would hear from them. We have not heard from them. Why should government be pinching from the citizens they are supposed to take care of?”
A lawyer, Mr Lawal Umar, and his wife, also complained similarly after paying for a plot of land in Orisan Water Front and Igbogbo respectively.
Umar, who said the state government had been evasive over the years, likened the situation to a fraudulent act, adding that he regretted persuading some people to buy the land.
He said, “My wife bought a parcel of land in Igbogbo while I bought one at Orisan Water Front in Lekki for about N3.5m. Despite the fact that we have fully paid, we have not got the land. I learnt that there was an issue between the state government and omoonile (natives) in Igbogbo. During the (Akinwunmi) Ambode administration, each time we approached the state officials over the matter, we would not get any definite response.
“Apart from the letter of allocation given to us, nothing has happened. We bought the land during the Babatunde Fashola administration. What they are doing is wrong. If it were a private organisation, people would say it was fraud. Why would a government do this? I even helped two other persons to buy the land but now I can’t face them. One of them was working in a bank then. I advised him to get the land since he would soon go on retirement.”
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Land Bureau, Mr Bode Agoro, in a text message, said the government wanted to redesign Orisan Waterfront scheme due to the alleged illegal sand mining in the area.
He said, “Okorisan Waterfront scheme is currently on hold due to the fact that we want to redesign the entire scheme. The redesigning became necessary due to unscrupulous sand diggers that have excavated and carted away huge quantities of sand from the scheme leaving huge holes/craters all over the scheme.
“Once we have completed the redesigning and re-filling of the land with sand, those who have paid will be reallocated another parcel of land within the scheme.”
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