May 22, 2024

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Community Head Drags Lagos Lawmaker to Court over alleged unlawful demolition of property

4 min read

…Case adjourned to June 19

Mojisola Lawal
A community head, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has dragged Lawmaker representing Somolu constituency 11 at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Rotimi Abiru to Lagos High Court over allegation of unlawful demolition of property allegedly belonging to the community head of Otumara 11 and Apapa.

According to the High Chief, prior to the demolition, the building served as a viewing centre and bar which he said was his only source of his livelihood.

Narrating his ordeal at the court premise, the claimant, High Chief Kalejaiye said he was shocked with the act that was put up by the politician and lawmaker whose major concern should be the protection of people’s interest but instead of this, he was seen using his influence and state power to trample on the rights of ordinary citizens.

He said “I am filing for malicious demolition of my property by Hon Rotimi Abiru. This is not about claiming ownership of land. In 2013, I started a viewing centre and bar service. However I was surprised when in 2014 Hon Abiru came around with his thugs numbering about four to destroy and remove the roof of the building, the cable dish, television sets and other equipment on the alleged ground that the land where the building is located belong to him. To say I was shocked was an understatement. Meanwhile while I was still contending with the reality on ground and trying to finding a way out of the oppression by the politician, I got a message from home that my attention was needed at Police Department of Investigation in Panti, Yaba for assaulting and threatening to kill Hon. Rotimi Abiru. I informed my lawyer and after thorough investigation of the allegation by the police, it was discovered that there were no substance in the allegation and that he misled the police and I was allowed to go home. But with the failure to settle the conflict amicably the investigation officer advised us to seek court redress hence the April 10th court date because of my strong faith in the judiciary as the last hope of a helpless citizen. I want justice to prevail”

Image of the demolished buildingc

In the police investigation report made available to the counsel to the High Chief, Barr Abimbola Akinlagun and signed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Gbenga Adeyanju, it was stated that a case of assault and threat to life as alleged by Hon Rotimi Abiru could not be established against High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye since there was no preponderance of evidence to link the suspect with the allegation.
In his defence dated 29th January, 2019 and signed by the lawmaker, Hon. Rotimi Abiru denied any involvement in the alleged demolition saying he is neither aware nor responsible for any purported loss of income or damages as a result of a demolition exercise carried out by an agency of the government, the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).
Hon. Rotimi Abiru who is Chief Whip of the Lagos State House of Assembly explained further in the defence statement that his mother had been using the said building since the early 70’s for her food business and she and her children including himself enjoyed quiet, peaceful and uninterrupted possession of the property.

He however wondered why anyone would lay claim to what rightfully belonged to his family. He narrated further “when my mother stopped her food business, she gave out the property to a night club known then as Cedar Club as tenant and the Club used it for its social activities until my mother’s demise in 2013. However after the demise of my mother I ensured that the property was secured by visiting it from time to time and it was during one of such visits in 2014 that I noticed that the fence erected had been destroyed and a structure erected on the land. I was informed by the people in the neighbourhood that it was Chief Kalejaiye whom I had known as an employee of Cedar Club, the former tenant of my mother that was responsible. How is this possible? I am neither a party nor privy to the destruction of the illegal structure erected on my father’s land. I am neither a staff nor official of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) that carried out the demolition of High Chief Kalejaiye illegal structure on the land of Alhaji M.A.O Abiru and neither did I at any time convey thugs to the land to remove any illegal structure thereon.”

Meanwhile counsel to Hon Rotimi Abiru, Barr Mubaraq Abdullahi has said the hearing before the honorable court is to explore CMC that is Compulsory Management Conference which avail both parties in the suit to explore an out of court settlement which according to him is client is ready for. The court has however adjourned the case to June 19 for CMC

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