- Lagos may soon be locked in a battle to take over major areas of the state from the federal government
- Govenor Akinwunmi Ambode asked his predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, now a minister, to use his office, to ease the return of the assets
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos has urged his predecessor and current works, power and housing minister, Babatunde Fashola, to ensure that the federal government returned all disputed properties in the state.
The properties and buildings include the whole of Ikoyi, Banana Island, Osborne Foreshore, Festac Town, Satellite Town, Trade Fair, among others.
Ambode spoke when he received a report from a special committee he set up on federal government assets in the state.
The governor commended members of the committee which included Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana; Partner of SimmonsCooper, Mrs Victoria Alonge, and others for the painstaking efforts put into the report.
He said: “It is our hope that this initiative will put an end to the long-standing dispute between Federal and Lagos state governments over the federal government disused lands and buildings and disputed quarters in various parts of the state which are no longer in use for the purposes for which they were originally released to the federal government
“We are hopeful that this report will get favorable response from the federal government especially given the fact that the Honourable minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), was a passionate advocate of this issue during his tenure as the governor of Lagos state and is also now a representative of Lagos state in the federal cabinet.”
Ambode said the report came at a time the government was in dire need of space for developmental projects to improve the socio-economic well-being of its residents.
He directed members of the committee to move further by mediating between the state and the federal government on how the assets would be released.
Elderstatesman and former federal commissioner for works and housing, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, expressed sadness over the current status of the federal secretariat in Lagos.
Okunnu, who chairs the committee, also complained about other abandoned and surplus assets of the federal government in the state, urging that the assets be returned for effective and proper usage.
He noted that the listed areas belong to Lagos state adding that titles of the land were vested in the governor.
He also urged the federal government to handover the assets to Lagos.
“The federal secretariat gives me sadness because I built it when I was the federal commissioner for works.
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“The land upon which the secretariat is situated is part of the crown land now state land.
“The title is vested in Lagos state but when he was governor, Brigadier-General Omobola Johnson (rtd) agreed to release that land to federal government when they wanted to build federal secretariat.
“Today, I don’t like to pass through that side because it gives me sadness anytime I see it in the current state.
“It is not only the quarters but the land on which many of these buildings in the areas are situate.
“In our committee, we have tried to argue that the whole of Ikoyi with the boundary at Lagos canal standing between Ikoyi Island and Lagos Island, title to the whole of the Island is vested in the government of Lagos state when Lagos became crown colony.
“The whole of Ikoyi including Osborn Foreshore, Banana Island, and others belong to the state government,” Okunnu said.
Continuing, Okunnu said: “Lagos state government acquired the land of the Trade Fair site but the federal government took over the land and gave a promise to pay the state compensation which was to be paid to the original owners of the land but that compensation was not paid.
“Today, the Trade Fair has been turned into a market far from the original purpose intended.
“Satellite Town too is vested in Lagos state. It is the federal government which should prove title to any land which it claims to own in Lagos state, but I will like to urge the federal government to return the lands to the state government.”
NAIJ.com had reported earlier that the federal government and Lagos state have concluded arrangement to help over 15 million Nigerians in diaspora trace their roots back home through the Badagry Diaspora Festival to hold in August this year.
The senior special assistant to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and the special adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Oversees Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass, both revealed this on Tuesday, June 13.
Watch a recent protest by Nigerians in Lagos over violence against women: