By Johson Oni,
Nigerian business giant, Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s dream of completing a multi billion naira refinery project is now under threat as the owners of land are moving for the revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy that legalized the site of the company.
The families are Oluwo (Sanni – Gbadamosi) Family of Oshoroko, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State and the Otu Family of OriganriganNla Village, Ibeju-Lekki and both have appealed to Lagos State to redress the injustice meted to them during the acquisition of their land for Lekki Free Trade Zone.
The development if addressed would have effect over land acquired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote for his refinery project in Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of the family at a press conference in Lekki, Lagos on Thursday, Barrister Oludayo Olofinlade, the solicitor for the family stated that the families were never compensated or consulted before taking over their family land.
Calling for the revocation of the C of O of the land which Dangote refinery was cited by the Lagos State Government, he alleged that the Lekki Coasta Area Development Association Resettlement Committee was not a dully registered company with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria.
“Due Process was practically thrown into the dustbin by those whose responsibility it was to process and perfect the grant to the said LEKKI COASTAL AREA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION RESETTLEMENT COMMITTEE either deliberately or by UTMOST negligence.
He said court judgment restraining the government and an unregistered company named Lekki Coastal Area Development Association Resettlement Committee that has now taken over a large expanse of land covering 375.019 Hectares in the community had been repeatedly ignored.
According to the lawyer, : “In flagrant abuse of the doctrine of Lis Pendens which forbids a litigant from taking any step in respect of a subject matter of litigation which may short change the other side or foist a situation of helplessness on the Courts. ONLY the RECKLESS and LAWLESS will flout this rule.
“We further discovered that as at December 2018, Dangote had paid the officials of Lekki Coastal Area Development Association the sum of N200, 000, 000.00k (Two Hundred Million Naira) as deposit for the lands.
“We immediately Caused a Caveat Emptor to be published in the Vanguard of Wednesday, February 13, 2019 notifying the general public (Annexure especially ‘E’) especially Dangote Oil Refining Company Ltd. Of the Illegality of the Proposed Sale of the land to Dangote Oil Refining Company Ltd. And other corporate entities.
“The letter to Dangote Oil Refining Company Ltd. Dated 18th ofApril 2019 was also personally sent to AJhaji Aliko Dangote stating that any sale of the land to him or his company was fraudulent (Annexure ‘F’). Despite all of these, the Dangote Oil Refining Company Ltd. released the sum of over NI.1 Billion to Lekki Coastal Area Development Association in furtherance of the fraudulent transaction” he said
The lawyer said the family sought a redress to the wrongs/injustice done to these families and to their descendants yet unborn.
“On the 8th day of June 2014, the foundation for a massive land fraud against owners of land in certain Communities including OriganriganNLa and Oshoroko Villages in Lekki Local Council Development Area of Lagos State was laid when the then Governor of Lagos State, Governor RajiFashola issued a Certificate of Occupancy to an entity referred to as Lekki Coastal Area Development Association Resettlement Committee over a large expanse of land covering 375.019 Hectares.
“The Instrument was registered as Number 9 at page 9 in Volume 2014m of the Lagos State of Nigeria Land Registry Office, Ikeja. ON the face of it, the Instrument seemed regular. However, the truth is it was not issued to an entity registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and under Nigerian Laws, it cannot own a property as it failed to qualify as a legal person!
Secondly, the Certificate of Occupancy sought to give title over other people’s lands( including the Oluwo (Sanni – Gbadamosi) Family of Oshoroko, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State and the Otu Family of OriganriganNla Village, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State) to the said unincorporated Organization!
The intrigue to this is that the affected owners of the lands were never notified based on the standards imposed by the Land Use Act, that their lands had been acquired by the Government of Lagos State. Neither were they promptly paid any Compensation for such compulsory acquisition of their lands.
“As if that was not enough, the allocation of the Customary owners’ lands to the said organization is a direct infraction of the position of the law that no government has the power to take land from one party and re-allocate it to another.
“With the Cover-UP that followed however, it would appear a better conclusion to say that some Civil Servants had connived with some individuals to amass huge wealth through a flawed and unlawful acquisition of the affected lands and the subsequent grant thereof to their cronies and/or proxies.