Distinguished gentlemen of the Press, it has become imperative for me to urgently issue this press statement to notify all men and women of good conscience on untoward activities of the current government in Lagos State that is hell-bent on persecuting my family for no reason besides that I insisted on the need to observe the rule of law.
Notice came to me yesterday, the 14th day of November, 2017 at about 6 pm while on lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia about a notice of contravention purportedly served on the residence of my 90-year old mother, Alhaja Sarat Banire, at her 24A, Remi Fani Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos by the agents of Lagos State Government from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development demanding within 24 hours, proof of planning permit obtained before the building was constructed. The contravention notice further threatened demolition of my mother’s two-bedroom bungalow within 48 hours of the notice.
It behoves me to put the record straight. My siblings and I acquired a lease of the property known as 24A, Remi Fani-Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos from the Federal Government to serve as residence for my aged mother. The lease covered the 2-bedroom bungalow already on the land together with a boys’ quarter. I did not have any reason to rebuild the house or do any further construction as the place was fit for the purpose for which it was acquired on lease.
I know that since the creation of the lease, my mother has been living in the said 2-bedroom bungalow without adding a block to the property by way of additional construction, development or alteration save minor renovation like painting. The reasons why we could not develop the property to make it more befitting is that we are still awaiting federal consent to the lease created in my mother’s favour.
Surprisingly on the 14th day of November, the contravention notice purportedly served by government requires that a building permit must be produced for an old building the existence of which predated the lease by which my mother became the occupier of the premises. The property belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria who granted a lease to my mother and save for minor renovations to make it habitable, no single efforts at construction or reconstruction has been made by any of us. How on earth could it be heard that a tenant is required to produce a building permit of a property that belongs to her landlord within 24 hours otherwise she risked demolition of the building?
I had earlier said that the Lagos State government, under the governorship of Akinwunmi Ambode is out on a vendetta and having failed to get me removed as the National Legal Adviser of All Progressives Congress, has targeted my supporters for persecution. The more recent is the invasion and sealing up of the residence of Honourable Funmilayo Tejuoso without a court order and in flagrant disregard to pending proceedings of the Lagos State High Court in a suit instituted by Honourable Tejuoso’s company and the Lagos State Government.
I had been expecting that, since I was the ultimate target having received several messages threatening my family members and me, very soon my properties shall become objects of demolition by the vindictive government that is out to wage war against real and perceived enemies. I am, therefore, not surprised to see that my aged mother’s residence is under attack.
However, certain points become quite pertinent:
1. it has never been heard that a tenant of a property shall be required to produce the building permit by which the property leased to him was constructed;
2. what urgency requires that the occupier of a premises be given just 24 hours to produce a building permit of which he/she could not have been in possession?;
3. what urgency requires that the building be demolished within 48 hours of issuing a contravention notice if not vendetta?
4. It is clear that Minister’s Consent to the lease in accordance with the law is still under processing with the Office of the Minister for Power, Works and Housing in Abuja and same has not come out which prevents the building from being developed;
5. The building is not dilapidated and neither does it constitute danger to any life or property. What exactly brought this building within the context of demolition if not that it is linked to Muiz Banire?
I want to sound this note of caution to the Lagos State Government that I am not daunted by all these acts of terrorism which it has embarked upon in recent times. My call for internal democracy in All Progressives Congress, prevalence of rule of law and resistance to imposition came out of personal conviction to serve my creator in all ramifications and at every opportunity.
All necessary reactions to the notice have been escalated to both the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government as I have caused my lawyers to respond to the notice appropriately. I have no doubt that this latest Gestapo tactic is in furtherance of the political victimization and oppression raging against me and my associates. I am ready for the sacrifice even if I have to in the process sleep on the street of Lagos. Rule of law and institution building remain sacrosanct to me. As far as God continues to protect my life, I will remain resolute on it. As the political repression continues, I urge all my followers and supporters to be calm. If God says that my ailing mother at the age of 90 will die in the hands of Governor Ambode, I give God the glory.
This is just my immediate reaction pending my arrival when I shall address the press comprehensively. Thank you very much.
Dr. Muiz Adeyemi Banire, SAN