Reps hold hearing on Ikoyi residents’ petition against minister
THE National Assembly Lower Chamber will today look into the allegation by some civil servants against the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple, who was alleged to have commenced process to eject them from their homes in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The planned forceful ejection, according to them, is against the directive by a Presidential Implementation Committee on the sale of Federal Government properties.
Their home, located at 41, Alfred Rewane (Kingsway) Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, is a Federal Government building, which they presently occupy.
Following controversy over the building, the 14 civil servants had sought the Assembly’s intervention. The public hearing was first fixed for last December, but was later adjourned till today.
Besides, the workers said the matter is in court and that they have gotten an injunction against the government and its agents from tampering with the property pending the determination of the suit. A copy of the court’s order was made available to The Guardian.
A civil servant, Rev. Yinka, who represents the families of the 14 residents, said they were worried that they could be ejected without notice, as they were allegedly threatened by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, who was said to have visited the property last week.
Reacting, a Special Assistant to the Minister, Mr. Kenneth said that the civil servants’ fear of eviction was unfounded because the minister was making all necessary arrangements to make them buy the property.
He said, “This problem has been on for several years, but this Minister (Pepple) went to the president to get an approval that the property should be sold to the present tenants. She directed the PIC to value each of the 14 flats and make an offer to each occupier. They have the choice of first refusal. If the Minister had other motives, as they alleged, then she would not have gone to the president to obtain an approval to sell to them.”
The minister, he said, was surprised that the property was dilapidated and did not match the highbrow profile of Ikoyi. Kenneth said the minister also visited other Federal Government properties in Ikoyi that had similar problems.
In 2005, the Federal Government embarked on the sale of its properties in Ikoyi and other parts of the country, with an option of first refusal to sitting tenants.