Residents of Monkey Village in the Opebi area of Lagos, whose homes were demolished by officials of the Lagos State Government on New Year’s Eve, say they were unable to salvage any of their properties because they had no prior notice of the exercise.
Thousands, including residents and mechanic workshops, were said to be affected by the demolition.
A 76-year-old landlord Robert Egbe said he had lived in Agbokwa Village, now known as Monkey Village since 1974
He explained that the place was a slightly forested slum where monkeys would come out in the day to play with the residents, following which the area was named ‘Monkey Village’.
According to him, the demolition was carried out without notice.
Egbe said: “My building was affected; I acquired a plot of land from Egba refugees in 1974, for which I have a Certificate of Occupancy issued by the state including Approved Building Plan and since then I’ve paid my land use charge till date. I am pleading with the state government to kindly intervene in this ugly situation because I have no place to go with my family.”
A caretaker, Madam Agnes Peters, said: “I am a petty trader and nobody ever notified us of any eviction; if there was any I would have alerted my co-tenant.
“I went to the market to buy the items I sell, before I returned, everywhere had been demolished; I did not remove anything from my apartment.”
A former Second Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, had accused an engineer, Abiodun Ariori, of acting wrongfully while recovering landed property in the community.
In a statement, Ariori denied being a land grabber, adding that the government officials merely enforced a Supreme Court judgment in favour of the Meadows family.
Ubani, whose client’s six plots of land were affected, argued that Lagos State agencies could not disposes a private citizen of the land he acquired legitimately and had been in possession for over 20 years with a Certificate of Occupancy of about 31 years without proper procedure.
He disputed Ariori’s claims that the concerned property belongs to the Meadows family who delegated his client to develop the land at Folorunsho Kuku Street in Opebi.
Ubani claimed that the land belonged to the Egba Refugees who, he said were the original owners and are the land sellers in the entire Opebi including the particular portion in contention. The Nation