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Saturday, 4 November 2017

Lagos Lawmaker, State In Face-Off As Government Moves To Recover House

Lagos Lawmaker, State In Face-Off As Government Moves To Recover House

A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Funmilayo Tejuoso, and the Lagos State Government are engaged in a major face-off over the move by the government to recover a property sold to her by the last administration.

The house in question is one of the over 100 government-owned properties that a committee set up by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode recommended for recovery.

Governor Ambode had set up a committee to probe the sale of government properties between 2006 and 2016.

The committee was to “investigate the sale of its (government) assets in prime areas running into billions of Naira”.

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On Friday, a team from the Lagos State Government was at Tejuoso’s property on 3A, Sasegbon Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos to repossess it.
When this became impossible as the occupants refused to vacate it and Tejuoso was said to be out of the country, the house was put under lock.

Videos of the attempt to repossess the house by the government team has gone viral on the internet.

So also has a statement alleging that one of those locked in the house by the government officials, including policemen, is a toddler.

The statement alleged that the policemen acted on the orders of Ambode and the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem.
But contrary to the claim in the statement, no one was seen attacked in the two video clips during the locking up of the property.

It said: “The invasion and eviction were carried out despite the pendency of a court case over the ownership of the property between the Lagos State Government and Honourable Funmilayo Tejuoso at the Lagos State High Court.

“Honourable Funmilayo Tejuoso is however outside the country on official assignment and there is no order of court evicting her from the premises or authorising the eviction efforts….”

One of the residents of the premises, Jide Olaore, was quoted as having said: “This is barbarity and executive lawlessness. How can the Governor and his Attorney General defy court proceedings and attempt to evict the owner of a house without a court order?

“Mrs. Tejuoso is not a tenant of Lagos State Government. Her company is the owner of the property. If Lagos State is interested in the property, they should buy it or approach her in a civil way but not to brutalize residents in a brazen show of force.

“Even if she is a tenant, I believe under the Lagos State Laws, there is a procedure for ejecting tenants.”

However, a top official of the Lagos State Government told The Eagle Online that the case Tejuoso filed before the Lagos State has been disposed off.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the task team saddled with the responsibility of repossessing such properties moved in to repossess the house based on the court ruling in favour of the government.

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However, the judgement, he said, could not be made available because it was a weekend.

The Eagle Online was told that the property in Tejuoso’s possession failed all the tests it should have passed for it to remain that of the former Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Top on the list is the fact that the house was meant to be occupied by the holder of the office of the Deputy speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Tejuoso became the occupant of the house when she emerged the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.

The house was then sold in 2010 to her company, Debam Mega Solutions Limited, with the name Funmi Smith, a development said to be against the Code of Conduct for public officers.

This has denied Tejuoso’s successors the use of the house as Deputy Speaker.

The Eagle Online was also told that the “house was sold cheaply” to Tejuoso by the administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola, who is now the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

Indeed, the panel set up by Ambode said some of the houses, located in choice areas in GRA Ikeja and Ikoyi, were sold for as low as N20 million.

Tejuoso was also accused of having not completed the payment fro the house despite buying it “cheaply”.

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