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May 23, 2024
State News

Lawyer petitions Army, DSS, FG as soldiers allegedly distrupts construction work in Akure

Some soldiers have allegedly invaded and stopped the ongoing Federal Government Housing Estate Project at Alagbaka, in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

It was learnt that the armed Security men were said to have said that they stopped the estate site workers based on an order from the above and were conscripted to stop the construction workers engaged by the estate developer, the Medaville Construction Company Limited.

The workers on site told Journalists that the solders who were three in number pounced on Medaville Estate, and ordered them to stop work.

While on an on-the-spot assessment, the Site Manager who spoke with our correspondent anonymously lamented that such unlawful act to grab the land and halt the Federal Government housing project was becoming incessant.

Reacting in a protest letter addressed to the Federal Ministry of Housing and Security Agencies, the lawyer to the state Developer, Barr. Femi Emodamori described the invasion of the federal government-owned Medaville estate project at Alagbaka G.R.A, Akure as unacceptable and threat to lives of the workers at the estate by some soldiers.

Below is the full text of the letter;

6th February, 2024
The Ondo State Director
Department of State Services
State House Annex, Alagbaka GRA
Akure.

Dear Sir,

REPORT OF INVASION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT-OWNED MEDAVILLE ESTATE AT ALAGBAKA G.R.A, AKURE AND THREAT TO THE LIFE OF THE WORKERS IN THE ESTATE BY SOME SOLDIERS FROM 32 ARTILLERY BRIDAGE OWENA BARRACK, AKURE

We act as Solicitors to Medaville Construction Company Limited, the Developer of Medaville Estate opposite Ondo State Police Command Headquarters, Alagbaka G.R.A, Akure.
From our brief, the Federal Government of Nigeria released the large parcel of land opposite the Ondo State Police Command Headquarters to our client as far back as 2009 for the construction of a Housing Estate as part of the Government’s policy to ensure affordable housing for middle and low income earners, under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

The land is part of the Government Reserved Area at Alagbaka, Akure which had been acquired by the State Government over fifty years ago and subsequently released to the Federal Government for developmental purposes. Consequently, the land is surrounded by Federal Government structures like the Police Headquarters, Federal Secretariat Complex, Nigerian Immigration Service, National Identity Management Commission and the Nigerian Customs Service.

Our client has constructed substantial housing units on the land and delivered them to the Federal Government, while massive developments are ongoing on other parts of the land.

To our client’s shock, a detachment of soldiers from 32 Artillery Brigade (Owena Barracks, Akure) invaded the Estate on or about Thursday January 30, 2024 in a Toyota Hilux Van branded in Army colours with “32 Brigade” inscribed thereon, with numerous casual workers who started unloading blocks and other construction materials onto the land.

The soldiers informed our client’s representatives that they were providing security cover for the casual workers by the top command of the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, supposedly based on the request of an Army General who claimed to have purchased some plots on the land from or through Town Planner Falola (the Federal Controller of Lands in Akure) and Martins Omorinbola (another official of the Federal Ministry of Lands), both of whom are in the Akure Office of the Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing, Federal Secretariat, Akure. Our client has however found out from top officials of the Ministry that the claim of the officers is not only ridiculous but completely false and impossible.

The Chairman and Managing Director of our client, Otunba Akin Benson, spoke with one Major Chris Uche at the 32 Artillery Brigade on telephone number 08153997252, who confirmed the narration of the armed officials who invaded the Estate.

Again, on Saturday February 3, 2024, the same military officials brought a bulldozer to the site and started demolishing some of the German floors our client constructed on the land. We have attached pictures of the bulldozer (Annexure A) and the German floors (Annexure B).

The officials also forcefully stopped our client’s workers from further working on the land, threatening some with fatal consequences if their illegal order was not obeyed.

Already, there are two pending Suits in Court between our client and some of those who had previously attempted to grab the same portion of land invaded by the Army. In the first suit (AK/258/2020: Medaville Buiding Construction Limited v. His Royal Majesty Oba Aladelusi Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo & 2 Ors), the Deji claimed in his Defence that there was an understanding between the State Government who acquired the land over five decades ago and the indigenous people of Akure that a small strip thereof would be reserved as sacred ground for rituals, although the Kabiyesi could not provide any document to substantiate that bizarre claim.

The Suit is pending at the Ondo State High Court, Akure and we have attached our client’s Statement of Claim (Annexure C) and the Deji’s Statement of Defence (Annexure D).
While the above case was pending, some officials of the Ondo State Government equally attempted to grab the same portion of land, after failing to coerce our client to ‘settle’ them with some irrational and offensive personal demands.

In 2023, the officials of the State Government later thereafter began claiming that the State Government did not release that portion to the Federal Government, about 14 years after our client began developing the land to the knowledge of the same State Government officials, and despite the fact that the State Government approved some of the documents and plans for the development of the land.

Consequently, our client instituted Suit AK/201/2023 at the Ondo State High Court against the State Government. The case is coming up in Court on 7th February, 2024. Interestingly, in her Statement of Defence, officials of the State Government unequivocally denied and rubbished the earlier claim by the Deji that there was a small strip of the land reserved for idol worship. We have attached a copy of the Statement of Defence by the State Government (Annexure E).

Sir, it would interest you to know that it is the same portion of land that the military officials have just invaded with yet another bogus claim that two undisclosed Generals purchased part of it from the same Federal Ministry of Land and Housing that released it to our client for the construction of the Estate.

It is clear to our client, therefore, that the army officials are working for or with some of those who had been successfully resisted from grabbing the land. The invasion of the Estate by soldiers is a dangerous exhibition of lawlessness and impunity which our client would resist.

However, the open threat to the lives of our client’s workers by the armed military invaders constitutes a serious security threat which our client is calling on your institution to investigate and report to the appropriate quarters for necessary action, because it has the potential to snowball into unimaginable crises, as our client would not only continue developing the land in line with the mandate of the Federal Government, but would resist further unlawful and lawless incursion(s) into the land by anyone or group, under any guise.

Please accept our client’s highest regards.

Yours faithfully
Femi Emmanuel Emodamori
(Lawyer)

Cc:
The Brigade Commander
32, Artillery Brigade
Owena-Ondo, Road, Akure.

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