WHO HAS THE FINAL SAY?

Hello, good evening. Good evening GCs. Good evening, Nigeria. Happy new year to all of you. It is the first Friday for 2022. 2 0 2 2.

Yes. A very exciting time. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays, for those of you who actually on Holiday. For those of us that have resumed work already, the lord is your strength, I know how it can be. You can easily get wrapped up in that holiday spirit and might not want to go back to work. And you’re like, “Oh, dear (sigh). Do I have to go back to work?”.

Obviously, money has to enter the pocket. You want make impacts. You have to do all the things you need to do to ensure that you grow as well.

My name is Dami Cruz, and today I will be your host for this evening. Your regular, Bekeme, couldn’t be today. She is unavoidably absent. She will be here next week by the grace of God, and I am sure she will be glad to hear your voices and hear all of you speak with us today as well.

For those of you who always know, we usually advocate Covid 19, protocols. We adhere to it. Please, do not to adhere to the covid 19 protocols. Always wear your masks. Even if you have been vaccinated, still do wear your masks, so you can protect those that have chosen not to be vaccinated. But, at the same time, you just have to be very careful. Sanitize your hands. Always be careful, wherever you go to, so you do not get the corona virus.

Also, for those of us out there, if you know anybody, in all the Hausa speaking states. We have in Kaduna. We have in Abuja. We have in Borno. We have a Gombe. And we have started the, we are continuing with Things Dey Happen radio drama and the Hausa version obviously. So, if you have anybody in those states and also have any connections, to tune in. You can go to our social media handles, on Instagram, it will be @csr_n_action and every other place, it’s @csr-n-action. You can always follow-on social media to get an update on the Things Dey Happen radio drama and the Hausa version. And if you want to catch up on the pidgin as well. You can also do that. Follow us on our handle and you can catch up on the pidgin episode as well. It’s about 14 episodes on all and really the story is quite captivating. And you really want to share that. This is how we actually change the narratives to actually empower women around us. Women who have been victims of gender-based violence. Women who have been victim of been marginalized. This is a thing especially in extractive communities, are a thing a lot of women face. So, please go and listen to that or listen to that drama. Try to get, this is what a typical sometimes, a typical woman will face in some of these communities as well. Do ensure that you follow us on our social media handles as well, @csr-n-action.

Right!

So, today is a very special day and we are talking about something, that actually started mid way in December last year actually. Look at how we are saying December as if it was how many months ago. Hum, but December last year. Imagine if it was this now, for those listening today, just try to imagine this. Let’s say you’ve bought a house. You’ve bought a land. Then you build on it. Let’s say you bought the house in 2010. You actually went through what you felt was due process. You’ve got the C of O. You paid the government. You paid all dues. And then you build your house. You’ve been there. The house is gaining its value, either you’re building it and you’re the one staying there, or you’ve rented the property out. Lo and behold, you wake up one morning and you see heavy duty caterpillar. Heavy duty machineries: bulldozer and these things out there to come and demolish your properties out there. And you’re thinking, hold on, what is going on here?

These is how, and this is how, I mean, try to picture it, that sudden shock. How someone will just, you know you’ve done all you can to actually get your properties properly registered. And low and behold, somebody comes in one morning and say, you’re demolish your house to give it back to the owner. And I am like how? I have done all the things that I need. Tis is my C of O. unfortunately, this is how the resident of Magodo Phase 2 must have felt. You know if you’re listening. This is how they must have felt. They woke up ne morning on the 21st day of September, just before Christmas really. I mean that week of Christmas, you’re thinking of celebrating and by the way, someone is telling you, they are coming to demolish your house which you most spent likely millions in, on the week you’re meant to be celebrating.

It’s very unfortunate. But unfortunately, this one happened. And they wake up and they see these, and they are like oh, there are actually law enforcement acting directly under the instruction of the Inspector General of Police to demolish some building located inside the estate, already marked for demolition.

This was you know, this was on the 21st of December, right? And fortunately, the matter was already quarried that day, as the government of Lagos came to come and like, let’s try and have a meeting. Let’s see how we can resolve this. Nut, unfortunately, it’s still not over. Because it’s still happened again this year. It started on the 4th of January. And there was, I think the governor had to rush out, you know? And try to address the issue. Unfortunately, the police didn’t agree actually agree. Look, we are following orders from the IGP and the attorney general or the court order, really, from the supreme court. What then can the governor do?

In this case, the governor had said stop, but they didn’t, you know what? You have to go and call; you know that kind of oga. Go and call the superior. Go and call before we can decide to do anything. And this what many people have been facing. That fear of I am going to lose my home.

I can imagine if you buy a property, especially now, that property will most like be worth, especially in Magodo Phase 2, it can be worth up to about, I think, I am not a real estate expert, it can be worth at least N50 million for a property. And you are just coming, and somebody is telling you, that you are losing that whole property after you have paid your dues.

And so, it is very worrisome. And like I have mentioned, I am no expert in this, which is why I actually have an expert with me today. Unfortunately, Lagos traffic has started. It always has existed, but you know. Holidays, after everyone travelled, the traffic reduced, and everybody has come back, traffic has increased.

I have a guest with me today on the Phone, his name is, Rotimi George-Taylor. A very good friend and also high school classmate. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen other since like 2010, I think. I can’t remember. It’s been a while but, we have been in touch. Ad he is very vast in this, you know.

Rotimi George Taylor is the CEO of Gotham group of companies. So, Gotham security limited. Gotham Properties and construction development limited. Gotha digital technology and Gotham Foundation. And he is also a resident at the Magodo Phase 2 and also a developer there. Having to actualy just completed 2 units of luxury apartment. So, he has vast knowledge on this matter in real estate, and he will be able to give us an insight as to really, what is the case? How do we address this? Cos people are going to lose their home. Yes, there have been, which we will talk about, there has been some kind of resolution. But is it the right way to go.

So, please, a warm welcome from all of you around there for Rotimi George-Talyor

Dami Cruz: Hello Rotimi

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes, thank you for having me

Dami Cruz: Thank you for joining us today. It’s been long I think

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes. exactly

Dami Cruz: (Laughs) Unfortunately, you can’t be here today. If not we would have just done a catch up

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes

Dami Cruz: Yes, it’s alright. Thank you for joining us. Were you present? Let really go straight into it, because we don’t have that much time. Were you present when this happen? You know when this kind of sudden bulldozer and all that. What transpired?

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes, I was present when it happened, you know. Unknown people accompanied with policemen and bulldozers came to the estate. (Voice becomes inaudible) to stop the bulldozer from coming in. but at the same point in time, the policemen had already gained entry. They started writing on people’s wall and all of that. All to everyone’s surprise, no document was issued to them

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: At least before you

Dami Cruz: (Cuts in) Right

Rotimi George-Taylor: try and take possession of

Dami Cruz: (Cuts in) Yes

Rotimi George-Taylor: Or carry out any order, people have the right

Dami Cruz: (Cuts in) Hmmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: to say, okay, you’re saying there is a court order, can I be shown this court order?

Dami Cruz: Yeah. Like a warrant per se

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes, exactly

Dami Cruz: Right. And no one was shown these. That means they didn’t even follow due process to a certain degree even if they have been given the right to do so

Rotimi George-Taylor: I feel the whole problem of this is no one followed due process and everyone acting as if Nigeria is a Jungle

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: The law needs to upload itself. The law needs to stand for something. That is what has caused this whole issue.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm. Wow. That is crazy, you know?! It’s very worrisome, because there is no process, there is no, what’s the name? Hum…

Rotimi George-Taylor: (Cuts in) a lot of people were scared that, what’s going on? Majority of the people had no idea of the court case

Dami Cruz: I know right. Which is very interesting, because I actually had to go and do some research. Apparently, this has been happening since the 1980s or so

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes, 1988

Dami Cruz: I mean, that’s crazy. Since 1988, this has been happening. Which will now bring me to a particular question, I would love to ask. I mean, this has been happening since 1988. It’s been happening. I think what happened then was that the court had given the right, I thin to the association od Shanghisha Landlords and the Lagos State government appealed. If there is an appeal going on, why did the Lagos state government keep selling those lands? Why did you think they kept selling those lands?

Rotimi George-Taylor: So, the thing about it is, during the military regime, this land was taken away from the Shanghisha Landlord Association. They had a petition. Took the case to the court and apparently, they were able to win the case at the Supreme court.

Now, in at that, the judgement that was passed was that the Lagos State government is meant to allocate them, I think 504 plots of land at Magodo Phase 2

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yeah! So, the issue is the government is meant to allocate to them, the state government. As we all know, there are legal things to back this. The Land Use Act of 1978, which was far before the case at hand, you know, it states that, state government has control over the ownership used administration development of land in Nigeria

Dami Cruz: Hmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: so, regardless of the fact that there is a supreme court judgement, supreme court has to order Lagos State and not (voice becomes inaudible), to allocate lands to them.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm. That’s interesting.

Rotimi George-Taylor: The thing is just that everybody following due process. It was a very wrong act on Lagos State Government for them to keep selling land to people. Lagos state has a big problem on their hands. And let me tell you why

Dami Cruz: Hmm Hmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: the thing is that in real estate, we tell people that do your due diligence

Dami Cruz: (Cuts in) Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: When purchasing a property. That’s when you go to the government, the ministry of Land, do a search on the property you want to buy

Dami Cruz: Hmm Hmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: then they come back and give you a certain connection

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: with the description of the land, the road title, year of grant, terms of year of grants. They will tell you if there are any encumbrances on the land, if there is no (voice becomes inaudible) or restrictions, and most importantly, if there is any litigation on the land.

Dami Cruz: Hmmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: Now, none of this (voice becomes inaudible) court order have been written on their properties, should have been listed as a litigation issue

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: It seems like the very first thing that the Magodo Association can do is to sue the Lagos State government, that some people are challenging us for these lands, in which you certify to us that so, so, so and so is the rightful owner

Dami Cruz: Hmmm. Hmm Hmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: We can buy it because there is not court case.

Dami Cruz: Hmm Hmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: So, if our government cannot promise us and give us true information, it startles a lot of people.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm. I mean it does. It will actually

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes, it does. But, at the same point in time, policemen, I think they said drainage, I did not identify any drainage there from (voice becomes inaudible)

Dami Cruz: Okay

Rotimi George-Taylor: we were there stating, before you can dispossess someone of their land, these people have been ranted a C of O, a certificate of ownership. I’m sure you know that is the highest land title in Nigeria

Dami Cruz: Really? I thought it was the Governor’s consent

Rotimi George-Taylor: No. C of O is the highest. Governor’s consent is when the government have acknowledged your deal of assignment, that you purchased from another person

Dami Cruz: Alright! Okay

Rotimi George-Taylor: he is the aware of the land sale.

Dami Cruz:  Hmmm. Okay. Okay.

Rotimi George-Taylor: So, there are only two people that can revoke a C of O. And the first person is state government who owns al the lands in the state

Dami Cruz: Hmm Hmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: The only way a state government can revoke a C of O, is if it’s in public interest. Meaning that, if these bailing were legally, to come and repossess people’s land, they need to come with a letter stating that each of these individuals that own these properties, their C of O have been revoked.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm. Even before they do that, the government still have to reach out to this people personally, I think, I am not even sure if there is data base for that really. But they need to reach out to them personally to say, this is the case. This has arisen or something. Something has happened and the process for revoked of your C of O has started or something. At least they know. You just don’t just wake up one morning and I am like, oh, I am coming to demolish your house.

Rotimi George-Taylor: Exactly. So, what the lawyers from the Shaghisha Landlord’s association should done, was that they should have files a new motion to the court stating that the government is still selling these properties. Because legally, Magodo residents have not business in this matter.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: These lands have already been sold to them

Dami Cruz: Yes

Rotimi George-Taylor: By Act of law, the government have no right repossess anyone of their property

Dami Cruz: (Cuts in) Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: As long they have their C of O

Dami Cruz: Right

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes

Dami Cruz: Right. So, basically there is a problem with the process entirely

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes. So, the only thing I am just particular about, which scares me, I do not know, but it seems like there are some higher individuals who have personal interest in this case. I guess it’s because we are the dark I did startled at

Dami Cruz: (Cuts in) What exactly is going on? Hmmm. That’s great. I mean that’s great. It’s a lot of information to really soak in per se. Just hold that thought. We will just take a short break quickly and when we return. We will just continue this conversation

(BREAK)

Dami Cruz: And welcome back everyone who is listening. Thank you. This is The Good Citizen Show. I am you host today Dami Cruz. And you know, we are actually talking about, who has the final say on this matter. Especially when it comes to this property saga in Magodo Shanghisa, between the government and the Association of Shaghisha Landlords. And I have with me on the line, a guest, Rotimi George-Taylor. He is a real estate consultant and a very adept with all this matter ahead.

And so, we were talking about this, and you know, we kind of agree to a certain degree that due process hasn’t been followed, but if you were to act as an advisor to the government, to the Lagos state government in this case, to the governor, or whosoever is involved, what advise would you give on how to resolve this whole problem? Because it’s a huge problem. It’s a large plot of land. Five hundred and forty something. I mean, it’s huge. How do you think you should? If you are to advise, how do you think it should be addressed?

Rotimi George-Taylor: So, before I answer that question, let me first say this, the government has first of all allocated some of the Shanghisa Landlord Association some plot of land at Badagry and Ibeju Lekki.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm. Okay

Rotimi George-Taylor:  Some of them have been compensated already. You know, according to section 29 of the land use act, you know, if you have been repossessed of your land, it is either you’ll be settled, that means you can be given another plot of land or you can be compensated financially.

Dami Cruz: Right

Rotimi George-Taylor: I know that Lagos State is trying to look at this point of view, to tend to resettle somewhere else due to the fact that every individual that has a C of O, (voice becomes inaudible) especially in Lagos State government and the federal government. They can now sue their offices privately.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: What I will advise the government to do is negotiate a peace talk. First of all, the governor, the excellency, Babajde Sanwolu, needs to make sure that before anything is done in his state, there need to be a liaison of information between the Federal and the State Government

Dami Cruz: Hmmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: So, that he is always aware of what is going on in his state. I think it was a bad move to carry out such an order without informing the governor, the CSO of the state

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: I think that is a bad

Dami Cruz: Right

Rotimi George-Taylor: But that has been said, the very first thing I will advise him, is ensure that you are getting information on every move that is going to be made on his state

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: Second, there are some areas of Magodo in which can be sand filled.

Dami Cruz: Right

Rotimi George-Taylor: Government can embark on a project and still, I am not sure it will be up to 500 plots

Dami Cruz: Hmm Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: But it will be a reasonable amount. And they can sand filed this particular place in which they can allot to the Shanghisha Landlord Association

Dami Cruz: Alright

Rotimi George-Taylor: And when they are done with that, they can then show the association, that look, we are working hand in hand with you. It’s unfortunate that this matter has happened

Dami Cruz: Hmm Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor:  I don’t think anybody would want to leave people on the streets, get other people homeless and things like that

Dami Cruz: Yeah

Rotimi George-Taylor: If they can work a deal with them, get them resettled, allocate new land to them in different parts in Lagos.

Dami Cruz: Hmm Hmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: At least still give them financial compensation

Dami Cruz: (cuts in) Yes. Sorry to cut in there. which will bring me to a particular question, really. Because even if, not necessarily question per se, but if they were relocated, will they relocate based on the value of the properties as at 18 something or the land of the property now?

Rotimi George-Taylor: So, they are meant to relocate according to the value of the property as of the court judgement

Dami Cruz: Right

Rotimi George-Taylor: At this point in time, Lagos state government is still appealing (voice becomes inaudible). In which every single action that have been carried out is legal. I am not a lawyer, but to the best of my knowledge, I have had my own personal court case. I know that that is illegal. You cannot carry out a judgement when it is in the court of appeal.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm. Okay. So as at the time. I guess that is because, I am thinking if they said Badagary or Ibeju Lekki for example, to a certain degree, some properties might, especially in, I don’t know about Badgary, but Ibeju Lekki, if they will really equal the value of property in Magodo, of Magodo Phase 2. I mean

Rotimi George-Taylor: I understand that. But, Lagos state has some housing project that is going on

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: Rather than just give them pieces of land, plots of land, they can develop these properties for them

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: They can say, oh, we are going to develop a certain amount of plot (voice becomes inaudible)

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: yes

Dami Cruz: Okay

Rotimi George-Taylor: But what I can say, the people of Magodo can be rest assured that nothing will happen to their properties because they have the law on their side.

Dami Cruz: Okay

Rotimi George-Taylor: So, immediately when this issue happened, on my platform, my real estate platform, I posted it out there that I would be giving free advice to people, Magodo residents, in which they as an individual keep their properties safe

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: The biggest exploitation that can happen to someone is them not knowing the Law.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: They not knowing what they are entitled to.

Dami Cruz: Hmmm

Rotimi George-Taylor: That is when they can take it as (voice becomes inaudible)

Dami Cruz: Yeah. Okay that is fine. So, we have to run out. Do you have a website, so if anybody is interested in actually getting your advice? Especially for property development and the rest? Do you have a website we can go to, who is listening right now, who want to purchase and thinking of purchasing a land and would ensure they get the right deal? Website or social media handle

Rotimi George-Taylor: My social media handle is @gothampropertyng

Dami Cruz: @gothampropertyng.

Rotimi George-Taylor: Yes. While my website is www.gotham, that is gothamproperty.com.ng

Dami Cruz: Okay. Thank you very much. For those listening, if you have anything that you’d like to do, Rotimi is very available. Thank you so much, Rotimi Obviously time has gone out already. Thank you much for joining us today. A very great pleasure having to discuss this with today. We would definitely catch up later on.

Thank you very much for listening to the show today, we will catch you again, and we will see you again same time next time week, 5:30 pm on Inspiration 92.3fm.

Thanks to Act Foundation and we will see you again next week. Have a lovely weekend.

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