Land: Lagos Battles 300 Court Cases

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Efforts by the Lagos State government to ensure the development of the state may continue to suffer as the government has said it is still battling with over 300 cases against it in court over landed properties earmarked for developmental projects.

This disclosure was made by the State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr. Enitan Oshodi, during a visit by the Chief Whip of the State House of Assembly, Dr. Razak Balogun, and party chiefs in Surulere Constituency 2 to some selected ministries in the state to solicit for government’s assistance over the plight of the people of the area.

According to the commissioner, the state government has a lot of ideas to benefit the people of the state, but getting landed properties from the people of the state has been the hindrance to its goals.

The majority of the cases in court, the commissioner said, were instituted by the supposed owners of the lands.

“We are in court in many places where we have started work. We rely on the local government to provide land since we have the responsibility of providing the funds and working with the private sector for this purpose,” he said but added that most of the projects embarked upon by the ministry have been stalled as a result of legal tussles between those who claim to be the owners of the properties and the government.

Among the projects solicited for by the Surulere people is a recreation centre for sporting activities in some parts of the constituency, job creation, the eradication of street begging and use of hard drugs by underage residents of some areas of the constituency

Responding, the Commissioner, who disclosed that begging had become one of the biggest ventures in the state, explained that the government had done its best to ensure that beggars in the state are discouraged and frustrated.

Within this week, the government has arrested over 600 beggars, Mr. Oshodi said while maintaining that many of those who engage in street begging also engage in the use of hard drugs.

“They also bring people from up north; they come in trailers and they are not coming to bomb, but to beg. And we have a culture of giving believing that if we don’t give, it won’t be well with us.

“Many of the beggars will tell you they are Muslims yet they don’t ever leave the road to pray when it is time for prayers. We have a lot of motherless babies home, yet our people prefer giving to these street beggars.

“There is a task force that has been arresting them, but they say we can’t deport them back to their states because they are Nigerians and have free movement. Even their governors are complaining that we deport them,” he said adding that recently, the rate had become alarming.

For drug abuse among the youths of the state, he said it was the direct result of unemployment and added that the state was getting to the grassroots to establish skill acquisition centres.

He also said child abuse cannot be eradicated, but can be reduced through mass enlightenment of parents.

While welcoming the lawmaker and residents of the constituency to his office, the state commissioner of Health, Dr. Jide Idris, lamented that a major challenge before his ministry is shortage of staff.

He said the hospitals and healthcare centres across the state are understaffed and as a result, the medical staff are daily overworked.

He said that as a result of this challenge, the government had taken the decision to aggressively address the issue of the primary healthcare which would become fully staffed and ease the stress of medical officers at the general and teaching hospitals in the state.

“One of the problems we have in the general and teaching hospitals is that those places are completely overwhelmed by people. People will only go to where they can get service and you cannot stop that, but as they do so, they overstretch the capacity of the staff who end up doing more than their colleagues do in other states,” he said.

While emphasising that this was responsible for some of the lapses that are seen from some medical practitioners, he said that getting staff in the hospitals was not the solution, but revamping primary healthcare centres, upgrading some and fully staffing them to reduce the stress on the medical practitioners.

“Whether people like it or not, I must tell you that we have serious human resource challenges in this state. We have the largest health workforce, but compared to the population, we have acute shortage.”

He also advised residents to report quacks to the state government after the lawmaker informed him about their requests that the area, which has Orile-Iganmu, Itire, Ikate, Ijesha and a few other communities, needed health centres, employment into medical facilities in the area and that there was a proliferation of quacks operating in the area.

—Eromosele Ebhomele