Disquiet as Lagos longest-serving lawmaker is booted out of ‘residence’
The internal squabbles in the ranks of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State may have manifested in the recent ejection of Hon. Funmi Tejuosho and her family from their “residence” at GRA Ikeja. Daily Trust on Sunday reports that though the state
Who is the rightful owner of the property at 3A, Sasegbon Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos? This is the poser which the eviction of Hon. Funmi Tejuosho from the residence has generated. In a commando style, heavily armed mobile policemen stormed the house about 11 am on Friday November 3 to take over the building while she was away in London on an official assignment. The lawmaker’s family including her husband, Prince Kayode Tejuosho and four children were however locked inside as policemen took over the expansive building.
Few days, the building was handed over to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni as official quarters while the properties of the former occupiers were thrown out. Prior to the handing over, a signpost with the inscription, “Official Quarters of Lagos Deputy Speaker” was mounted at the entrance.
Tejuosho was allocated the official quarters when she was elected Deputy Speaker in 2007. She was impeached from the position in 2009 but continued to occupy the residence claiming to have bought it over during the monetization era of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
But sources within the government said the house is the official residence of the Deputy Speaker but the embattled lawmaker allegedly bought the house through her company, insisting the house was bought illegally.
One of the sources who spoke with Daily Trust on Sunday said the government recently set up a committee on recovery of government properties that were sold illegally with about 100 properties including Tejuosho’s already identified.
The source said, “When she left as Deputy Speaker, there is no monetization policy, how come the official residence of Deputy Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly suddenly disappeared and then became the property of a company that belongs to an ex-Deputy Speaker that was impeached?
But many observers believe there is more than meets the eyes to the eviction of the lawmaker who is said to be close to Banire who is having a running battle with the state government.
It is strongly believed that the travail of the lawmaker is as a result her closeness to Banire who also hails from the same Mushin Local Government with Tejuosho.
In fact, the lawmaker’s husband, Prince Kayode Tejuosho who briefed newsmen on the development in the absence of his wife, described the action of the state government as “sheer political persecution and uncommon vendetta.”
He insisted that the house was duly purchased by his wife through a company where the family has a stake, adding that the sum of 150million was paid to the coffers of the government to secure the Right of Occupancy to the building.
He said, “Let me quickly lay the facts bare to correct the falsehood being peddled by the Government to justify their unlawful act and outright violation of our rights. During the administration of former Governor Bola Tinubu, the Lagos State Government adopted property’s redevelopment several civil servants of the its Federal properties monetisation occupying policy Government’s by to same offering public/ and for sale redevelopment as well as schemes. companies under
“This monetization policy was continued by the Babatunde Raji Fashola government, as a result of which several officials benefited, including the present chairman of the Lagos chapter of the APC, Mr Henry Dele Ajomale.
“In furtherance of this policy, my wife and I being the present occupiers were equally afforded the same opportunity of acquiring the property which we chose to do through a company in which we have interest. This company called Debam Mega Solutions Limited, by a letter dated November 21, 2008, addressed to His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Debam Mega Solutions Limited sought the concession and approval of the Governor to acquire the right of occupancy over the property at 3A, Sasegbon Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos,” he explained.
According to him, “since the acquisition of the property, Debam Mega Solutions Limited enjoyed quiet and undisturbed possession of the property until about 11:00am on Friday, 3rd of November, 2017, eight years after, when policemen from the office of the Governor of Lagos State, led by one Mr D. Abutu, without an order of court, invaded the property, evicted some of the occupants and imprisoned the others, who have remained imprisoned since.”
Prince Tejuosho also pointed out that four deputy speakers before Hon. Tejuosho did not occupy the house.
But the state government in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde stated that: “That the matter in question does not involve the governor’s office as being erroneously alleged but a tussle of ownership on a government property between an interloper and the Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
“That while a couple has stepped forward to claim ownership of the said property, this is a misdirected claim as the couple did not make any purchase on the property. The company that made the purported purchase did so in error and is yet to step forward to challenge the cancellation of the purchase since the company - a certain Debam Mega Solutions - which paid only a portion of the offer price never completed payments on it that would have entitled its full takeover and access to Certificate of Occupancy.” The commissioner explained that the incomplete payment has since been refunded to the company and the property retrieved so that it can continue to serve as the official quarters of the Deputy Speaker. Besides, Mr Ayorinde stated that while government acknowledges a form of monetisation policy that allowed certain levels of government officials and political appointees to purchase official quarters in their individual capacity on owner-occupier basis, this policy never extended to companies like Debam Maga Solution which is not a government entity and could not have legally made a bid for a government property. “That the names of the two directors of the said company are never Lagos State officials and the media is encouraged to investigate the names of those directors with the Corporate Affairs Commission whether the company is owned by the Tejuoshos or not as claimed by the husband,” the commissioner noted. The Deputy Speaker who received keys to the house explained that there was no rancour whatsoever over the development.
here allocated that reported and Esinlokun-Sanni to the after the property to to Speaker the me the Clerk in place was 2015 and said: of not to we had the vacant. discover “I tried House came been to I settle We have things demonstrated amicably within utmost us. maturity, empathy and care in resolving all matters regarding this property and this is the crystallisation of our collective will and efforts. The Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly can be said to now have a roof over his head.”
But the question is why did the state wait till after these years to take over the house if it was sure the former Deputy Speaker was illegally occupying the property? Pundits say it is part of the APC power play which has spilled over to the House of Assembly.
The controversial house
Hon. Funmi Tejuosho