FHA justifies demolition, says owners were trespassers
There was wailing yesterday, following Sunday’s demolition of houses worth several billions of Naira at FESTAC Town, Lagos, by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).
Some homeowners in FESTAC Phase Two woke up to see their houses being demolished on Sunday morning.
The exercise, residents said, came a day after an article announced that the FHA would soon begin mass demolition of buildings without approval in FESTAC Town
While some spoke to The Guardian in utter shock that their houses which they struggled to erect with their hard earned money were destroyed within a twinkling of an eye, others took to the social media to lament the development, decrying what they called government’s insensitivity.
One of them, identified simply as Okey, said he acquired the land from an estate agent.
Also, a Facebook user, Angel Nkiru, took to her page to share photos of houses that have been brought down.
She wrote on Sunday: “Got bad news this morning.”
“I am there and I’m crying because I have friends who have houses there.
“Festac phase 2 Abule- Ado Estate under Amuwo Odofin Local Council under demolition by the FHA.
“They started at 5:00 a.m.. See beautiful houses.
FHA said the land is not approved. I am watching people’s houses being destroyed and it’s painful.
“Ego umu igbo agwugo.. This first yellow building belongs to my oga at ASPAMDAs. Make I no mention name because he’s popular.”
But FHA has justified the demolition, stressing that the affected homeowners were trespassers.
Speaking to The Guardian, yesterday, FHA Zonal Manager, Samuel Akintola Olagbemiro, said those affected were given more than 60 days notice, the first notice was for 21 days, but they refused to quit.
According to him, many of them were informed, when they were at the foundation level, they still went ahead and continued without any right to the land or approval and papers.
Olagbemiro stressed that most of them claimed they bought the land from one estate developer, who also claimed that he bought the land from traditional rulers, in this day and age.
According to him, they knew the principle of buying land, some of them came here and we told them they don’t have any land, and that they should stop whatever they were doing, salvage whatever they can, but instead they continued building.
He stressed that many houses were demolished, while some were left because people were still living inside them.
He said: “We didn’t even go there after the end of the 21 days because we also wanted to be sure that we were doing the right thing. We wanted to make sure that we have done all the markings and they were informed, up to the extent that some that were even at foundation level still went ahead and continued, which is not right.
“We saw so many things, no approval, no original papers, nothing, nobody could give us a single, simple approval either from Lagos State government or from Federal.”