Once again, we are constrained to address the deliberate misrepresentations, media spin and outright falsehood of the Osborne Foreshore 2 Residents Association (OSFRA) in her desperate bid to keep other law-abiding citizens out of the estate in the name of condescending exclusivity.
BLOCKING THE GATE
Lekki Gardens does not block gates considering the estate gates are manned by those assigned that responsibility by OSFRA. OSFRA has made it a habit to deny entry to our construction trucks driving into the estate to conduct legitimate business on plots of land for which Building approvals have been duly granted by the State government through the approved Ministry and in the process continued to inconvenience and inflict pain on her residents.
While acting out her ill-conceived plans to infringe on our rights, they try to progressively shut the gates against our vehicles as they drive in and, in the process, shut out other users on the two-lane access road into the estate.
A clear example of their flawed and desperate approach took place on the 7th of April 2021, barely a week after a stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Ministry of Planning and Urban development where stakeholders were advised to engage and resolve all issues.
OSFRA blocked the gate against our trucks, and it took the intervention of the police to allow us in and clear the heavy traffic jam that resulted from their action. Feeling thwarted in their plans to frustrate and malign us, OSFRA led by the chairman Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa-Mbah took their baseless and desperate vendetta to a new dimension by mobilizing touts to storm our site where they resorted to rough handling and beating up our contractors and staff insisting they leave the site.
Only for the association to come out to lie in a national daily newspaper the next day that they did not know why the gate was blocked.
Another desperate attempt by the association is the misrepresentation and twisting out of context of comments made by our Chief Executive officer at the stakeholders’ meeting to cast him and the business in bad light before the public. On the number of plots owned, our CEO only alluded to the fact that our several footprints in the estate make us a substantial stakeholder who has as much interest in the physical and infrastructural wellbeing of the estate as any other stakeholder or group in the estate.
Given the issues under consideration at the session had to do with building and construction, his comment on number of houses built by the business was about qualification and the right to speak to the issues rather than a statement of pride.
Needless to say, the published number of units in our projects is a mischievous exaggeration and misrepresentation of facts by OSFRA.
OSFRA’S ANTECEDENTS AND SELF-HELP
We would like to draw the attention of the public to the antecedents of the association under this present leadership. They started out by resorting to self-help, arbitrarily cutting down our signages and blockage of our sites without any legal authority or court order.
- Matters in Court
There are Court orders stopping OSFRA from preventing our Company, a legitimate Stakeholder and owner of properties in the estate, its agents and contractors from accessing the estate to conduct its legitimate business. Yet OSFRA led by a legal practitioner continues to take deliberate and belligerent steps to undermine the authority of the Court on the matters between our Company and the association that are sub judice.
- Highhandedness and usurping authority
It is unfortunate that OSFRA believes it is more competent to determine land use issues over and above the State government and its agencies authorized by law. They have petitioned and invited the Ministry of Town Planning & Urban Development and the governor on issues related to the approval of our projects in the estate and the Ministry had reiterated severally that it is the Statutory and Regulatory Authority vested with the powers to apprise applications for building approvals and permits and that it had in line with the powers vested in it granted the approvals to our Company.
Suffice to state that the Ministry is robustly equipped with staff with the requisite technical skills whose duty it is to ensure applications for approvals are accorded the necessary professional scrutiny. OSFRA cannot therefore arrogate to itself the non-existent power to superintend, review or scrutinize lawful approvals granted by the Ministry. To agree otherwise would suggest OSFRA is a supervising Agency over the Affairs of the Ministry and by extension the State Government.
- OSFRA as Complainant, Prosecutor, Judge and Enforcer
OSFRA had approached Law Enforcement agencies on the issue of denying us access into the Estate and been advised to obey the existing Court order.
OSFRA has however without let or hindrance recklessly ignored lawful advisory, flagrantly disobeyed court orders and attempted to undermine the regulatory authority of the Ministry. OSFRA has by these unwholesome acts constituted itself into Complainant, Prosecutor, Judge and Enforcer of its imaginary judgement. This must not and cannot be allowed to continue.
- Smear Campaign
OSFRA when advised by Law Enforcement Agencies to desist from its acts of self-help, runs to the press on matters of pure emotions without any scientific basis or backing, resorting to campaigns of calumny and name calling not restricted to our Company alone but to any person or group of persons or institutions that it perceives as not condoning its excesses.
SUMMARY AND SUBMISSION
It has become very clear that OSFRA will stop at nothing to get their way, even if it means standing in the way of progress and development all for the achievement of their personal agenda at the detriment of the common good of Lagosians.
- A group of individuals that bought property like others have decided to arrogate to themselves powers that belong to the government and the police all to force us to behave in the way they want us to.
- They have gone to the Ministry to try to force a review of our approvals but at no time did the Ministry agree to their selfish demands contrary to what they would have the public believe as they do not have the power to cause prior and properly obtained approvals to be revoked.
- OSFRA has no respect for the Court, the Ministry and by extension the Lagos State government. OSFRA is clearly the AGGRESSOR and not a Victim.
- This resort to undiluted emotional blackmail against other stakeholders must stop as it is an apparent fallacy. OSFRA must imbibe and exhibit the maturity to engage other stakeholders not just for the sake of posterity but for an all-inclusive victory to SAVE THE SOUL OF THE ESTATE.
- On our part, we remain committed to the use of dialogue and mediation towards the resolution of any tangible issues that require our attention.
MANAGEMENT OF LEKKI GARDENS ESTATES LIMITED