By Obinna Amaobi
The allegation of gross impersonation and assault over a landed property in GRA Ikeja against Mr. Tayo Ayinde, the Chief of Staff to the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is untrue.
The accusation against Ayinde by some online publications, including Sahara Reporters over a landed property allegedly belonging to Chief Adetunji Omisore and one Tajudeen Mohammed, at No. 4, Ladoke Akintola Street, GRA Ikeja, was debunked by multiple sources, who revealed with necessary documents that the property belongs to the Lagos State Government and not Tayo Ayinde as alleged by Omisore and Mohammed in the online publications.
It was gathered from multiple sources that the property which Ayinde was accused to have ‘forcibly obtained’ was one of the properties the Federal Government returned to the Lagos State Government, which was subsequently recovered from Omisore and Mohammed when the government needed to make use of it.
Our correspondent learned further that the Government did what was needful through the state agencies to retrieve the property from the illegal occupants.
It would be recalled that Sahara Reporters in a publication titled “Chief of Staff to Lagos Governor, Tayo Ayinde, allegedly linked to over N500million land scandal,” which was published on Saturday, July 23, 2022, accused Tayo Ayinde of gross impersonation and assault over a landed property in GRA Ikeja.
The publication alleged that Ayinde, in a bid to forcibly obtain land worth N500million, destroyed properties worth millions of naira, by using the police and other security forces to assault the landowners.
“The incessant issue of Lagos State officials meddling in the affairs of landowners and their wanton and indiscriminate destruction of properties among other vices was brought to the fore following an unauthorised demolition and sealing off of a property, belonging to Chief Adetunji Omisore and one Tajudeen Mohammed, at No. 4, Ladoke Akintola Street, GRA Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
“Fingered in this allegation playing prominently in this saga is the Chief of Staff to the Lagos State governor, Tayo Ayinde, the owner of Watercrest Hotel and numerous choice properties around the Lagos metropolis, who lives opposite the above-mentioned address, precisely occupying No.5, Ladoke Akintola Street, GRA Ikeja,” Sahara Reporter quoted a source in its publication.
An independent investigation by our correspondent revealed the story is false, that the claims by Chief Adetunji Omisore and Tajudeen Mohammed as stated by Sahara Reporters that they owned the property and the accusation of gross impersonation and assault over the landed property by Tayo Ayinde is an attempt to blackmail and a gross misrepresentation of facts of the matter about the said property.
One of our reliable sources said those laying claims to the landed property have no legal approval and documents from the Lagos State Government indicating that the land belongs to them. They said there is no way government property can be transferred to an individual, group of people or organisations without the necessary approvals and consent from the Lagos State Government.
Speaking exclusively to our reporter on Monday, a source, who is a top government official of the State Government said the property belongs to the Lagos State Government, noting that both Chief Adetunji Omisore and Tajudeen Mohammed are usurpers, who encroached on the State Government land without approvals from any government agencies. He said the land is part of the property that the Federal Government returned to Lagos state Government and nobody can lay claim to it.
The source said: “The land belongs to the Lagos State Government originally. So, Chief Adetunji Omisore and Tajudeen Mohammed are usurpers. They are the ones that encroached on Lagos State Government land. They started building on the land without any form of approval from the Lagos State Government. They got no approval from government agencies. They encroached on the land and started building on it. So, they are the land grabbers by law.
“So, Lagos State Government is right to have sent necessary government agencies to demolish the building. So, the issue has nothing to do with the Chief of Staff. Naturally, as the Chief of Staff, anything that concerns Lagos State Government will get his attention but there is nothing that concerned him on the matter. That I believe will be his level of involvement in this matter. But he is not the owner of the said property and he can’t lay claim to it, same way the duo of Omisore and Mohammed can’t claim that the land belongs to them.
“I believe that rather than subjecting the issue to the media war, they should have come up with all the necessary approvals given to them by the government. There are several documents to suggest the position of the government that the land belongs to the Lagos State Government.”
Also exonerating Tayo Ayinde from the claim by the Sahara Reporters, a source told our reporter that the Chief of Staff has nothing to do with the land, noting that there is no way an individual no matter how highly placed can personally take possession of government property without getting necessary approvals.
“The land is part of the property that the Federal Government returned to Lagos State Government. So, there is nobody that can touch it. It is a property that individuals cannot have access to. There is no way the land can belong to Tayo Ayinde. He has nothing to do with the land. They are just blackmailing him,” a source told our correspondent in an exclusive interview.
According to a document obtained on Monday, the property in question was part of the properties transferred to Lagos State by the Federal Government as indicated in No 36 of Vol 7 of the Lagos State Official Gazette dated November 7, 1974.
Another document obtained by our reporter, which was a letter written by former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on March 22, 2005, and addressed to the Chairperson of the Implementation Committee on Federal Government Landed Properties, Abuja, showed that the property in question was No 122 on the list of 143 properties transferred to Lagos State Government and it is a storey building located at 4, Ladoke Akintola Street, Ikeja.
The letter from the Office of the Governor of Lagos State, which was communicated to the then Minister of Housing, Mrs. Mobolaji Osomo, was titled “Re: Release of residential properties and inherited from the Federal Government during and after the creation of Lagos State in 1967.”
From the available documents obtained by our correspondent and interviews with some reliable sources, it is obvious that the property at 4, Ladoke Akintola Street, Ikeja belongs to the Lagos State Government and has nothing to do with Mr. Tayo Ayinde, the Chief of Staff to Lagos State Governor.