The Deeper Christian Life Ministry (DCLM) has cautioned the Lagos State Government and the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) against the planned demolition of its church house at No: 2/4 Biney Street, Yaba, Lagos and forceful acquisition of the land on which the structure currently stands.
The church said, in a May 27, 2021 letter of complaint to the state government and the Lagos State House of Assembly, written by its lawyer, Nojim Tairu, that it recently noticed that a sizeable chunk of the church’s premises, which serves as the headquarters of its Yaba group, was marked for demolition by the state through LAMATA.
DCLM said it has been in possession of the land for over a decade and has peacefully occupied it until the Lagos State Govt marked its structures for demolition without any notice or providing reasons for its action.
The church said it found that some days earlier, a structure adjoining its building was demolished by agents of the state government, while another property on the other side of the church had been evacuated preparatory to demolition.
Stating that it learnt the Lagos State Government/LAMATA demolished the structures to enable it to deploy the land for the certain public interest, DCLM said it would not object to the state government’s development efforts, but insisted that the proper procedure for acquiring private property for public use must be complied with.
Part of the letter reads: “Whilst our client is not, in principle, against the development of the state and the government’s proposal to use the section of her land for overriding public interest, the minimum in any clime is that the government and its agencies, being institutions and custodians of the law, must comply with applicable laws in such circumstance so as not to leave any room for speculations on their intentions/actions or worse still, set a dangerous precedent in that regard.
“In the premises, we look forward to the appropriate formal communication from the government/its relevant agencies on the subject to elicit the needed cooperation from our client and set in motion necessary arrangements for what is due and needful in the circumstance, including proper/joint evaluation of the subject property and payment of adequate compensation thereof.
“At any rate, a formal notice/communication on this matter is all the more necessary because both the government and the church are institutions of record with very high responsibility to have and keep proper record and documentation of every event affecting their rights and obligations at any point in time.
“Meanwhile, to assist the state to expedite the required process, particularly if the speculated purpose of the land is correct, that is, an integral part of the state’s public transportation/hub, our client has taken the initiative of procuring the services of a firm of estate valuers to assess the property, the open market value of which was put at N140million, as captured in the valuation report attached herewith.”