Those who believe that “Eko” (Lagos) is a no man’s land should begin to have a rethink, a forum of prominent indigenes of Lagos, Omo Eko Pataki, has said.
The forum made this declaration in a statement on Sunday in a reaction to the Ojora Royal Family and Council’s recent taking of ownership of the lands housing the Lagos State liaison office of the Delta State government, at Plot 235/237, Moshood Abiola Way (former Apapa Road), Ijora, Lagos, through a court order.
In the statement, signed by the trustee of the forum, a former Minister of Communications, Major-General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (retd), Omo Eko Pataki vowed that some heritage and monument sites that had been sold and taken over for non-public purposes and other interests would be retrieved and returned to the appropriate families and local authorities.
It noted that the Ojora Royal Family and Council succeeded in repossessing their rightful lands after successfully proving in court that the lease agreements they had with the governments of the Old Western Region, Mid-West Region and Bendel State had expired.
This development, according to the forum, is a landmark “as rightful owners of lands are taking back what belong to them in a state unpopularly touted as ‘no man’s land.’”
The statement read in part: “It is of historical interest to note that among the four traditional chiefs in Lagos is the Idejo class, otherwise known as land owners. They were 10 in number in the earliest Eko chieftaincy families’ history. A few others have been added to this class.
“In outer boundaries of Eko, there are traditional Awori Obas who have proprietary rights to the lands in Onigbogbo, Ewu, Ikeja, Agege, Alimosho, Ojo/Badagry axis and part of Lagos East Senatorial District. In Lagos State, lands are linked to ancestral heritage.
“As land owners, chieftaincy families have tremendous influence and responsibility to allocate lands to family heads, immigrants, settlers and others. And by virtue of their traditional roles and ownership, they are indispensable on land administration in Lagos State.
“It is an incontrovertible fact that land tenure agreements permeated relationship between the colonial-era administration and the chieftaincy families who allocated land for public use. Various instruments as well as a number of agreements were made which guaranteed the return of such leases to the original ownerships at the expiry of the lease agreements.
“A few more years ahead of us, many of the leasehold agreements upon which certain developments have been constructed will revert to the original ownerships.
“We will be seeing more of this in judicial pronouncements leading to recovery from individuals, state, federal governments and institutions. Then, it will be significant that recoveries by court orders will put a bright shine on the true ownerships of Eko land.
“Some heritage and monument sites that have been sold and taken over would be retrieved and returned to the appropriate families and local authorities.
“The old colonial City Hall in Campbell Street which used to be the official office of the first Mayor of Lagos, the Falomo Shopping Centre on Awolowo Road Ikoyi and the famous Glover Street/Kingsway Road junction residency of colonial administration that were pulled down for non-public purposes and other interests are examples of inappropriate priorities. Those who believe that Eko is a no man’s land should begin to have a rethink.”