A group of landowners in Epe comprising of 120 families, the Eyin-Osa United Kingdom Development Association, (EUKDA) have appealed to Governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode to implement the reports of the tribunal of inquiry on the causes of civil disturbances at the Lekki Free Trade Zone
According to the President of EUKDA, Alhaji Muftau Shittu, Governor Ambode on 22nd
October, 2015 inaugurated a 6-man panel of inquiry chaired by Hon. Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi to investigate the causes of civil disturbances in Okunraye, Epe, Lagos following the state government’s acquisition and excision of lands in Eyin-Osa, Epe, Lagos state and between then and now nothing has been done to remedy the situation.
While speaking recently with newsmen, Alhaji Shittu informed that members of Eyin-Osa residents who are largely farmers and fishermen have been deprived of their means of livelihood and are on the verge of being denied the lands bequeath to them by their forefathers without adequate compensation by the state government.
He added that “for the preservation of Eyin-Osa ancestral land, the land enumeration exercise which is to be embarked upon by Lagos government to identify land owners and the level of development on such lands for payment should consider the actual lands being acquired by the state government while certificate of occupancy should thereafter be granted to the association to cover the 45per cent of the land excised.”
Commenting further on how government acquisition of lands in Epe have deprived indigenes of land possession and means of livelihood, Alhaji Shittu said “Between 1970 and 1973, Eyin-Osa lands were acquired for agricultural purpose by the Lagos state government but unfortunately these lands ended up being given to top government functionaries in the state. Meanwhile, these allottees had no special project on farming other than what the indigenes had practiced. Secondly, in 1993, Lagos state government had removed the right of occupancy from land owners through the revocation in the official gazette no 20, volume 26 of 13th May 1993 while in the name of global acquisition, it has acquired the entire Lekki axis from Ajah up to Epe boundaries without due process of land use decree of 1978. However, after various acts of acquisitions by the government, members of the association comprising 120 law abiding families are hoping and praying that Gov. Ambode will redress these injustices by ensuring that our ancestral lands are given back to us”.
On his part, Secretary General, EUKDA, Alh. Kamal Shabi laments the consequence of Lagos state government acquisition of Eyin-Osa lands as he said that there are no land areas left for the Eyin-Osa future generation to embark on developmental projects.
Alhaji Kamal stated, “ If development in Epe local government are to be considered with Ibeju Lekki LCDA and other neighbouring Local councils, one does not need to be told that government acquisition of Epe lands has done more harm than good to the community. We are therefore appealing to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to address this double standard of land administration and implement the report of Justice Olateru-Olagbegi panel of inquiry in order to allow justice to prevail.”
Meanwhile, Coordinator, Security Affairs of EUKDA, Olajide Abidakun, has said that in spite of their claims on the state government, Eyin-Osa indigenes has no slightest intentions of obstructing Lagos state government on its developmental projects in Eyin-Osa, Epe Local Government.
According to him, what affected families are demanding is adequate compensation for the lands acquired and implementation of the report as handed by Justice Olateru-Olagbegi.
Olajide however appeals “I am appealing to the administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to intervene in Epe developmental crisis. Eyin-Osa is the only factory in Epe land and should it be acquire by the government, what becomes of our land and the youth of the community who constitute larger percentage of the population. On behalf of all the families that have stakes in Eyin-Osa community, I am appealing to the Lagos State government to execute the recommendations of the panel and take the portion that is required for public use and not to acquire lands for sale.”