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Nigerian living in US appeals to Sanwo-Olu to help reclaim her land in Badagry

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Nigerian living in US appeals to Sanwo-Olu as other official channels fail

By Jeph Ajobaju, Chief Copy Editor

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Toyin Momodu, a real estate investor living in the United States, has appealed directly to Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to help reclaim her land in SunnyField, Badagry after other channels failed to claw it back from land grabbers.

She bought the 2,200 square metres of land in 2012 from the state government and obtained a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) from the Governor’s Office Land Bureau.

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Momodu said hoodlums later encroached on the property and efforts to seek official government channels to reclaim it have not been successful.

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She recounted to The PUNCH through her lawyer M.A. Sodipo that she has not received a reply to a petition she sent to Sanwo-Olu’s office.

“We hereby appeal to your excellency to use your good offices in removing all impediments and stumbling blocks preventing our client from gaining physical possession and we equally implore your excellency to put her in immediate physical possession,” the petition reads in part.

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“We fervently believe that your excellency would without delay graciously accede to our humble request while thanking you in anticipation of the very much expected and desired cooperation that would put a smile on the face of our client.”

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Nigerian living in US came to invest in Lagos; loses son, land, and gets defrauded of ‘hundreds of thousands of naira’ by Lagos officials 

Momodu, 53, a real estate surveyor who lives in Florida, is in pain over alleged refusal of the Lagos government to help reclaim the land, TheNiche reported in October, quoting The PUNCH.

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“After paying all my fees and dues for my commercial property at Sunny Field, I obtained my Certificate of Occupancy, only to learn that the land had been encroached on.

“When this happened, I followed the protocol by serving the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Building Control Agency and the Badagry Scheme Office a request to take ownership of the land,” she told The PUNCH.

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“I travelled down to Nigeria and learnt that the building control agency had served the illegal occupants a notice of demolition, a development I was pleased with.

“I contacted the Badagry Scheme Officer at that time, one Mr Ayinde, and he invited me to his office. He also invited an Islamic cleric, who claimed to have built a mosque on a part of my land.

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“During our discussion, they pleaded with me to spare his (Islamic cleric) illegal property from being demolished and that he was ready to pay for the land he was occupying.

“Out of empathy, I said I was ready to give him a part of the land as long as I still have little remaining to build my dream hotel.

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Defrauded by Lagos officials

“Mr Ayinde told me that they would do the measurement the second day and get back to me.

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“That was the last discussion I had with him. I called him severally, but when he eventually responded, he told me that the Islamic cleric was not one of the occupants, but refused to tell me who the occupants were.

“He even threatened and told me to be quiet or alternately I could go and report him to the Governor.

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“Within a couple of weeks, my 16-year-old son, who travelled with me to Nigeria from Florida, died. I returned abroad alone without my son with a heavy and bleeding heart.

“Two workers of the state government also defrauded me of hundreds of thousands of naira while I was trying to pay land use charges on another property.

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“I was directed to the Commissioner of Finance, who never responded to my messages. Then to the legal department, which first told me that all issues would be resolved.

“But now, they neither respond to any of my messages nor pick up my calls.”

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Documentary evidence

Documents Momodu showed The PUNCH included the C of O, a letter she wrote to the Lagos State Building Control Agency over the encroachment and confirmation by the Lagos State Land Use and Allocation Committee for the payment for the land.

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She also produced an email dated August 2022 which she sent to Sanwo-Olu seeking his intervention.

She said she has not received any response.

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An official in the Land Bureau, Ministry of Environment, who identified himself only as Harry, advised Momodu to present the matter at the Lagos State Task Force on Land Grabbers.

“She has called and we have told her what to do. There’s a special committee created by the Lagos State government on issues like this.

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“We told her to go to land grabbers at their office at Alausa to make the necessary complaints, then we can take it up from there,” the official counselled.

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