Residents of Berliet community in the Oshodi- Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State, have sent a Save Our Soul appeal to Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo Olu led Lagos State Government
following news of imminent demolition of over 20 houses by management of MOJEC International Limited.
Most of the Landlords in the Community are Retirees who claim that despite a court order restraining parties in the disputed land matter to maintain status quo, the management of MOJEC are bent on demolishing their houses.
The Retirees who wrote a SOS letter to Governor Sanwo Olu and the Attorney-General of the state, Pedro Lawal (SAN) to come to their rescue and intervene in what they described as illegal action.
They explained that they bought their respective parcels of land directly from the indigenes and original owners , three and six decades ago and had been living there peacefully, until MOJEC International Limited surfaced to lay claim to them.
The affected buildings are located on Fayemi Close, lbitoye, lgbesa Igbehin streets.
The affected landlords described the company’s action as contempt of court, wondering why they would carry out such action despite a pending court’s restraining order.
Tayo Obamonire, one of the affected landlord explained that she bought the land in 1974 from the Isiba of Onitire family and did all the necessary documentation before she started building in 1977.
Barely had the construction started than MOJEC company, according to her, started laying claims to her property and others, saying it received the approval of former Lagos State Military Administrator, Col Raji Rasaki.
She said, “We went to court and the court fined the then Chairman of the company for destroying my foundation. Though he didn’t pay then, the company took their hands off the property.
“ They came again in 1978 and started making trouble . They ordered some thugs to bundle my builders into the booth of the car. I was even accused of murder. When we went to the Police, they (Police ), told us to resolve the matter and exonerated me for murder. “Again in 2017, they came and pulled down my building alongside others. They came with armed policemen who beat up many landlords who attempted to question their action.
That was when we went to court and the court told us to maintain the status quo. But we discovered that the company disobeyed the court order. As you can see, they have brought equipment to test the soil, in order to start building, inspite of the court’s restraining order. Is the company bigger than the law? “.
Another landlord, Ita Elijah , who still had scars of the injury he sustained in 2017, when policemen came to pull down some buildings, said, “ I was thrown into the Black Maria like a common criminal simply because I requested to know why they should embark on the demolition when we had documents to show as owners of the buildings”.
Other landlords further stated that they had Certificate of Ownership from the Lagos State Government.
They therefore called on Governor Babajide Sanwo- Olu and other relevant agencies to intervene by calling the company to order, to avoid a bridge of peace.
They further alleged that the company had engaged the services of some government officials to strip them of their property.
Debunking the claim of the Retiree Landlords, MOJEC International Limited said it was not aware of the soil test being conducted on the disputed land.
The company’s Secretary/ Head Legal Services, MOJEC International Limited , Christabel Iremhinmhen, who spoke with some journalists at her office on the Oshodi\Apapa expressway, Lagos, said “ The community is complaining that we flaunted Court order, but they were the ones who flaunted the order. As at the time they developed the area , there was a restraining order subsisting injunction. They also flaunted the order too . Their hands are dirty. They are only using delay tactics.
” I want to let you know that if they have a court order, it is not a substituting order.
“We have brought evidence in court and they don’t want to open their case, they keep amending and amending documents. A government official has even given evidence in court. We have no problems, they are lying. The government is our evidence.
“ Our case is strong, that is why the government is our witness. We have C of O, so the land belongs to us.
“ We are ready for anything. As for the dredging on the land, I am not aware of that, but even if there are people doing something on the land, they( landlords) had in the past violated the court order, because, to go to equity, you must go with clean hands. We are waiting for them to open their defense”, she stated.