Dangote Refinery: Landowners Seek Revocation of C-of-O for Non-Compensation

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Dangote Refinery: Landowners Seek  Revocation of C-of-O for Non-Compensation

 

Chinazor Megbolu

 

Angered for not being carried along, landowners are seeking the revocation of Dangote Refinery’s Certificate of Occupancy for non-compensation.

The dream of completing a multi-billion-naira refinery project owned by African richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is being threatened as the owners of land are taking steps for the revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy that legalised the site of the company.

The families concerned in the revocation drive are; the families of Oluwo (Sanni – Gbadamosi), Oshoroko, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State and the Otu  of OriganriganNla Village, also of Ibeju-Lekki, of which both are appealing the Lagos State to redress the injustice done to them during the acquisition of their land for Lekki Free Trade Zone.

Speaking during a press briefing in Lagos during the week, the Solicitor to the family, Barrister Oludayo Olofinlade, said the families were never compensated nor consulted before taking over their family land.

He maintained that the development, if not addressed, would have effect over land acquired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote for his refinery project in Lagos.

While calling for the revocation of the C of O on the land which the refinery was cited by the State Government, he alleged the Lekki Coastal Area Development Association Resettlement Committee was not a dully registered company with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria.

“Due process was practically thrown into the dustbin by those whose responsibility it was to process and perfect the grant to the said Lekki Coastal Area Development Association Resettlement Committee either deliberately or by utmost negligence,” he said.

Olofinlade explained there is a court judgment restraining the government and an unregistered company named Lekki Coastal Area Development Association Resettlement Committee, which has taken over a large expanse of land covering 375.019 Hectares in the community had been repeatedly ignored.

“In flagrant abuse of the doctrine of Lis Pendens which forbids a litigant from taking any step, in respect of a subject matter of litigation which may short change the other side or foist a situation of helplessness on the Courts. Only the reckless and lawless will flout this rule”.

“We further discovered that as at December 2018, Dangote had paid the officials of Lekki Coastal Area Development Association the sum of Two Hundred Million Naira (N200, 000, 000.00) as deposit for the land”.

“We immediately caused a Caveat Emptor to be published in the Vanguard of Wednesday, February 13, 2019 notifying the general public (Annexure especially ‘E’) especially Dangote Oil Refining Company Limited of the illegality of the proposed sale of the land to Dangote Oil Refining Company Limited and other corporate entities”.

“The letter to Dangote Oil Refining Company Limited dated 18th of April, 2019 was also personally sent to Alhaji Aliko Dangote stating that any sale of the land to him or his company was fraudulent (Annexure ‘F’). Despite all of these, the Dangote Oil Refining Company Limited released the sum of over N1.1 billion to Lekki Coastal Area Development Association in furtherance of the fraudulent transaction,” Olofinlade said.

He pointed out the families are seeking a redress to the wrongs/injustice done to them and to their descendants yet unborn.

According to him; “on the 8th day of June 2014, the foundation for a massive land fraud against owners of land in certain communities including OriganriganNla and Oshoroko Villages in Lekki Local Council Development Area of Lagos State was laid when the then Governor of Lagos State, Governor Raji Fashola issued a Certificate of Occupancy to an entity referred to as Lekki Coastal Area Development Association Resettlement Committee over a large expanse of land covering 375.019 Hectares”.

“The Instrument was registered as Number 9 at page 9 in Volume 2014m of the Lagos State of Nigeria Land Registry Office, Ikeja. On the face of it, the Instrument seemed regular”. “However, the truth is, it was not issued to an entity registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and under Nigerian Laws, it cannot own a property as it failed to qualify as a legal person!”

“Secondly, the Certificate of Occupancy sought to give title over other people’s lands including the Oluwo (Sanni – Gbadamosi) Family of Oshoroko, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State and the Otu Family of OriganriganNla Village, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State) to the said unincorporated Organization!”

“The intrigue to this is that the affected owners of the lands were never notified based on the standards imposed by the Land Use Act, that their lands had been acquired by the Government of Lagos State neither were they promptly paid any compensation for such compulsory acquisition of their lands”.

“As if that was not enough, the allocation of the customary owners’ lands to the said organisation is a direct infraction of the position of the law that no government has the power to take land from one party and re-allocate it to another”.

“With the cover-up that followed however, it would appear a better conclusion to say that some civil servants had connived with some individuals to amass huge wealth through a flawed and unlawful acquisition of the affected lands and the subsequent grant thereof to their cronies and/or proxies”.

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