5th January, 2022
By Nehru Odeh
The Shangisha Landlords Association, the land creditors fighting to retrieve the 549 plots of land the Lagos State government seized from them 38 years ago, has said they don’t have issues with the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu nor did they intend to ridicule him.
They also affirmed their belief in the governor’s ability to redress the wrong meted out to them 38 years ago.
Deji Fasusi, counsel to the Shagisha Landlords Association, said this in a statement made available to the media today against the backdrop of the governor’s unscheduled visit to the estate yesterday, following fresh protests by residents over large presence of armed policemen in the estate.
Not only did a mild drama ensue, the Chief Superintendent of police, who led the police team, defied the governor’s order that the police officers armed with AK-47 rifles vacate the estate.
Sanwo-Olu was accompanied on the visit by the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo; Assistant Inspector-General of Police, and Commissioner of Police Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, among others.
The statement reads: “The Shangisha Landlords Association holds His Excellency, the Executive of Lagos State State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu in high esteem and as such do not have personal issues with him as the matter decided with finality on the 10th of February predated him. Therefore it would be dishonest to assume that the issue is personal or orchestrated to ridicule him.
“On the contrary, it is our firm belief that this matter is a grand opportunity to right the wrongs of 38 years and by so doing write his name in bold italics and in gold while sending a message to civil servants and government officials that the days of impunity, anyhowness and flouting/non-adherence to court orders and/or judgements are over.
“The days of forcefully taking from the poor and giving to the rich unjustly has become a thing of the past and that true democracy can only thrive in a just environment where the rule of law is entrenched.
“Without prejudice to the intentions of the state government in their quest to see that this issue is laid to rest, it is perhaps worth noting that the state government is an interested party in the matter, having appealed the judgement of the Supreme Court and lost.
“The government of Lagos State as such is bound by the judgement and considering the fact that the governor has sworn to uphold the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as entrenched in the 1999 constitution as amended, we do not hold the belief that the governor is legally empowered to attempt to stop the execution of a valid court order as that would be in complete contrast and diametrically opposite to the oath of office and/or allegiance he swore to uphold as the governor. He should be seen as trying to uphold the law rather than trying to subvert same.
“The police, in our view, ought to be commended for rallying to ensure that the rule of law is maintained and for ensuring that there is no breach of peace while the process of execution is ongoing.
“The general public should note that the judgement creditors are law abiding and have so far remained graceful and calm even in the face of apparent threats and verbal abuses.
“No matter how long lies are peddled, the truth will remain constant, and no matter how late the race may seem, the truth will catch up and make up.”