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Lagos residents lament takeover of community road


Residents of Shyllon Street in the Ebute Meta area of Lagos State have called on relevant government agencies to intervene in the plight of residents following the recent acquisition of a parcel of land that had hitherto been used for social and recreational purposes in the community.

PUNCH Metro learnt that apart from the acquisition and possession of the land, the residents are concerned that the new owner also took over the public right of way that forms part of the land.

The situation, it was learnt, had brought about harrowing experiences for motorists and other road users in the community.

Apart from affecting ease of movement, it was further learnt that the development being carried out on the land is also causing massive flooding during downpours.

Residents expressed sadness that the new owners did not only fail to restrict themselves to the purchased land but had since erected a fence that took over the larger part of the road considered a pathway that motorists and other residents ply on daily.

A source in the community told PUNCH Metro on Sunday that several similar attempts to take over the land had been met with stiffer resistance in the past by the elders in the Community Development Association and those who used the place for recreational activities in the community.

They expressed surprise that there were no dissenting voices this time.

Speaking with PUNCH Metro, a source in the community who did not want his name in print for fear of victimisation, said, “The affected parcel of land had been vacant for several years because it was considered to be designated for social use and that no specific person could be directly associated with the land as a valid owner.

“Also, many potential buyers of the property have attempted to take over in the past five years but have met stiff resistance from the residents and community users

“Lately, it was confirmed that the land has been sold and that the owner was ready to take immediate possession. It was surprising that there was no usual resistance because, as we learnt, the buyer succeeded in playing his game of settling anyone who could stand his way.

“Although the acquisition and possession of the land is not our primary interest, our concern is that the owner did not restrict himself to the purchased parcel of land but decided to take over the public right of way that forms part of the land.”

Lamenting on the hardship the obstruction of the road had caused road users and other residents in the community, the source said the only narrow path left for public use was overrun by flood as a result of the rainfall recorded in April.

He added, “Now, the entire land has been fenced with a narrow path left for public use. The blockage has subjected the public and the residents to horrifying experiences. The narrow path was entirely flooded with the heavy early morning downpour of April 23, 2023. It was completely impassable.

“Moreover, we learnt that the access road for Shyllon Street as designed by Lagos State Government in the building master plan for that area is now blocked and the narrow path has become a dangerous area at night.”

Speaking with PUNCH Metro on Saturday, the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mukaila Adebisi, advised residents of the community to write formally to the commissioner with pictorial evidence.

“Residents should take the development to the notice of the government formally. They should address it to the commissioner, maybe with the pictorial evidence,” Adebisi said.

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