Muiz Banire, the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress, has slammed the Lagos State Government for issuing a 48-hour demolition notice on his his 90-year-old mother’s house. He said the notice is an attack from his political enemies.
In a statement he issued on Wednesday, Banire said the property, a two-bedroom bungalow, was acquired on lease by himself and his siblings from the Federal Government. He expressed shock that the state government was demanding a building permit on a property he purchased from the Federal Government.
Banire, who is currently observing lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia, said Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was persecuting him for fighting the party’s culture of imposing candidates.
“My siblings and I acquired a lease of the property from the Federal Government to serve as a residence for my aged mother. The lease covered the two-bedroomed bungalow already on the land, together with a boys’ quarter. I did not have any reason to rebuild the house or do any further construction as the place was fit for the purpose for which it was acquired on lease.
“I know that since the creation of the lease, my mother has been living in the said two-bedroomed bungalow without adding a block to the property by way of additional construction, development or alteration save minor renovation like painting. The reasons why we could not develop the property to make it more befitting is that we are still awaiting federal consent to the lease created in my mother’s favour.
“Surprisingly, on November 14, the contravention notice purportedly served by government requires that a building permit must be produced for an old building, the existence of which predated the lease by which my mother became the occupier of the premises. The property belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria who granted a lease to my mother and save for minor renovations to make it habitable, no single efforts at construction or reconstruction has been made by any of us. How on earth could it be heard that a tenant is required to produce a building permit of a property that belongs to her landlord within 24 hours otherwise she risks demolition of the building?
“I had earlier said that the Lagos State Government, under the governorship of Akinwunmi Ambode, is out on a vendetta and having failed to get me removed as the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress, has targeted my supporters for persecution. I had been expecting that since I was the ultimate target having received several messages threatening my family members and me, that very soon my property shall become objects of demolition by the vindictive government that is out to wage war against real and perceived enemies. I am, therefore, not surprised to see that my aged mother’s residence is under attack,” the statement read in part.
“All necessary reactions to the notice have been escalated to both the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government as I have caused my lawyers to respond to the notice appropriately. I have no doubt that this latest Gestapo tactic is in furtherance of the political victimisation and oppression raging against me and my associates. I am ready for the sacrifice even if I have to, in the process, sleep on the streets of Lagos.
“Rule of law and institution building remain sacrosanct to me. As far as God continues to protect my life, I will remain resolute on it. As the political repression continues, I urge all my followers and supporters to be calm. If God says that my ailing mother at the age of 90 will die in the hands of Governor Ambode, I give God the glory,” he added.
The Lagos State Government has, however, said that Banire is only making up stories. It said, in a statement issued by Anifowoshe Abiola, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, that the property was among those identified by state agents to be operating without due permits. He said 13 houses on Remi Fani-Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja, where the said house is located, were served the same notice. He said the notice was the first set of an ongoing exercise embarked upon by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.