Residents of Phase 2, Magodo Estate in Lagos, have begun to go about their daily routines with normalcy, following the withdrawal of policemen and bulldozers attempting to demolish some properties on Wednesday.
This is after the Lagos State Government intervened and promised to resolve the 549-plot-of-land squabble between it and the Shangisha Landlords Association.
The gates of the estate, which were shut by the Magodo Residents Association (MRA) on Wednesday morning in a bid to resist the demolition and takeover of over 400 houses in the estate, are now open as calm returns.
When FIJ visited the area on Thursday morning, our reporter observed houses marked with the inscription ‘ID/795/88 possession taken today, 21/12/2021 by court order’.
The marks were visible on all houses on each side of the road from the estate gate to Bashiru Street, where it stops before No. 84/86. Only the Magodo Police Station was spared before this house number.
One resident, who identified simply as Charles, told FIJ that calm had been restored and that the governor had given the assurance of an amicable resolution.
“I live here. Nobody is blocking the road again as you can see; there are no more bulldozers and policemen. The matter does not concern us. What they have in court is between them, so they will settle it,” Charles told FIJ.
On Wednesday, Magodo Estate residents woke up to the imminent threat of losing the roofs over their heads. A supreme court had ruled that the Lagos State Government had to concede 549 plots to their original owners, the Shangisha Landlords Association. These plots are within Magodo and owned by new landlords who bought them from the state.
The matter had been in court since 1982.
HOW IT BEGAN
Alhaji Fatai Bello of Shangisha North told the Nigerian Tribune in 2017 that the entire high-octane multi-billion naira estate now known as Magodo Phase 2 originally belonged to Shangisha, an ancient village on Lagos Island, but was set aside by the state government for recreation centres and gardens, only for wealthy Nigerians to bombard the place with wonder-on-the-land architecture, turning it to arguably the most expensive portion of land in the state.
Alhaji Laide Oshikoya, an estate valuer, put the value of a plot of land in Magodo Phase 2, which has owners like Ayo Fayose, former governor of Ekiti State, at N100 million at the time. And despite being expensive, the estate has remained one huge construction site, with developers streaming in daily.
Shangisha’s luck came with a Supreme Court judgement in 2012 returning the entirety of Magodo Phase 2 to it and bringing its traditional institution and the descendants of the original land owners into a gold mine.
Walter Onnoghen was the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) at the time. He was also one of the five justices that heard the matter and awarded judgement to Shangisha.
Ever since, the Magodo and Shangisha dwellers have been in constant negotiation to delay a takeover.
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