By Emmanuel Udom
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos state is the No 1 APC man in the state, with an estimated population of 23million people.
Like other governors before him, the bulk stops on his table as far as the running of the former capital of Nigeria is concerned.
However, for the umpteenth time, The Nigerian Automobile Technician Association, NATA, an affiliate of The Federation of Informal Workers Organization of Nigeria, FIDON, is appealing to the governor to this time around right all wrongs, unleashed on mechanics operating over 1800 workshops at Ladipo area of Lagos.
Asiwaju Jacob Fayeun, chairman, Lagos state chapter of NATA accused some money bags of colluding with some officials from the ministry of transport in Lagos, and procuring the services of the police and armed thugs to unlawfully oppress and eventually evict the mechanics from their workshops.
Comrade Gbenga Komolafe, National Secretary of FIWON, also added his weighty voice to the appeal for justice, saying that in Lagos with an estimated 7.5million workers from the informal sector, Sanwo-olu should break away from the norms perpetuated by past governors in the state, except Lateef Jakande and address the grievances of the mechanics, who are rendering crtical national services to the nation. ——————————————————————————————- Please read the text of the press conference, which was held in accordance with all COVID19 rules Friday, July 17, 2020 in Lagos.
Text of the Press Conference by the Nigeria Automobile Technicians
Association, (NATA) titled Stop the Eviction, Stop the Oppression!
The Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), an affiliate of the Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON) is once again crying out against the
unlawful, whimsical and oppressive eviction of mechanics from their work place by money bags
colluding with officials of the Ministry of Transport, employing the services of the police and
armed thugs. This time the violent eviction, willful destruction and confiscation of property
mainly motor vehicles at different stages of repair, illegal arrests and detention of mechanics
took place at Odo Aladura Mechanic Village along the Powerline Corridor/Canal set-back at N0.
1, Jimade Close, Odo-Aladura, off Ladipo Road, Mushin, Lagos State, covering an area of
5193.886 square meters. This site is one of forty mechanic villages created along power lines and
canal set – backs as a way of organizing auto repair workers in sustainable work clusters while
decongesting the city of the scattered presence of auto workers. The powerlines were chosen
because no permanent structures are allowed under high tension electricity grids for safety
This action of the Lagos State government taken several decades ago, in 1980 was prescient. It
anticipated that as population of Lagos grew, there would be need to expand existing public
spaces for the use of workers in the informal sector who provide critically important services for
members of the public. This action conforms with current international standards especially
Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 10.2 which emphasizes the necessity for inclusivity in
city management as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation 204
all of which provide for, among other things, regulated access of informal workers to public
spaces in the course of their service to members of the public. Unfortunately, several of these
mechanic villages have been taken over by private interests with the connivance of certain public
officials of the Lagos State government.
The allocation, control and management of all the Lagos State Government approved Mechanic
Villages, including the Odo-Aladura Mechanic Village, Mushin are vested/domiciled in and
entirely placed under the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation (Then known as the State
Ministry of Works and Transport). The said land / Mechanic Village above referred to was
permanently allocated to some of our members through the Ministry of Transportation and
sometimes on the 16th December, 1993, upon fulfillment of all the Lagos State Government’s
conditions and requirements, the said members / allottees are:
- MOSES B. IROKO & OTHERS
- ALANI O. FALOLA & OTHERS
- WAHAB ADENIYI & OTHERS
- AZEEZ ADESOPE & OTHERS
- ADEOYE S. OGUNSEYE & OTHERS
- ADEGBENRO FATORISA & OTHERS
Copies of the permanenet Allocation Letters issued to the named allottees/members are annexed
hereto and marked “ANNEXURE A”
For emphasis sake, the other allottees/members above referred in the permanent allocation letters
comprises of mechanics (Automobile Engineers), Panels Beaters, Welders, Iron Benders,
Metallurgist, Painters (Auto Sprayers), Battery Chargers, Metal, Wood Allumium, Steel and
Auto Body Builders and Vulcanizers.
Again, and as is expected, our members, as responsible and law- abiding citizens, have always
been discharging their lawful obligations to the State Government by way of payment of Ground
Rents, Developmemnt Levies, Taxes and other levies on yearly basis, in respect of the allotted
premises, without default. Furthermore, our member/allottees have never contravened or
breached any enviromental laws, regulations, guidelines or any other laws whatsoever in the
course of carrying on its trade/businesses at the said premises/mechanic village from inception
Strange developments however started emerging sometimes in the month of March, 2018, when
some unknown persons claiming to be the officials/management team of the Lagos State
development and property Corporation (LSDPC), paid an unscheduled visit to our members’
premises/mechanic village at Odo-Aladura claiming to be on an alleged inspection tour of its
(LSDPC) property, on alleged reason that the premises being occupied by our members falls
under its management and control.
Our members, through their solicitors, immediately caused a letter dated the 14th April, 2018, to
be issued to the Ministry of Transportation seeking its clarification and intervention on the
development but the said letter never elicted any response. Copy of the said letter is annexed
hereto marked as “ANNEXURE B”.
How ever, to our members utmost surprise, it received a letter dated July 17th
, 2018. From the
law Firm of Justice Jude. C. Wilfred & Associates demanding that they vacate its Odo-Aladura
premises within Seven (7) days, on ground that the premises have been allocated to its client,
Shola Idowu Estate Developer & Company, since November 24, 2017, by the Lagos State
Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC). Copy of the said letter is annexed hereto
marked as “ANNEXURE C”.
In response to the above mentioned letter, our members again caused its solicitors to write to the
Managing Director of Lagos State Development and Property Corporation both on the 19th July,
2018 and 14th August, 2018, seeking to clearify the veracity or otherwise of the content/claims
contained in the above mentioned Solicitors letter dated July 17th 2018, but the said letters
elicited no response from LSDPC. Copies of the said letters are annexed hereto marked as “ANNEXURE D & E”
Suffice it to also say that our members/allottees of the Odo-Aladura Mechanic Village were
never at any time informed of the change in the management and control of its premises by the
Ministry of Transportation or the Lagos State Governemnt and neither did the our
members/allottees at any time paid rent, taxes levies or render any account whatsoever to the
Lagos State Development and Property Corporation in respect of the lawful occupation of its
Sometimes on the 5
th and 19th December, 2019 our members were invited for a meeting by the
Special Adviser (Transport) to the Honourable Commissioner for Transportation, to discuss the
issue of regularization of LSDPC’s Land at Matori Industrial Scheme, Mushin, Lagos, which
they claimed allegedly included our members’ workshop/premises.
At the said meeting, our members clearly made their position clear that the issue of
regularization of their workshop /premises does not arise at all as title to their property does not
derive from LSDPC And They Have Never Informed Of Any Changes In That Respect By The
Ministry of Transportation.
Further to the said meeting, the office of the Special Adviser (Transport), by its letter Ref. No.
MIT/AG.1616/Vol. II/2017 dated the 19th December 2019 but which was received by our
members on the 23rd December 2019 wrote to offer, on behalf of LSDPC, the sum of N10, 000,
000.00 (ten Million Naira Only) as compesation to enable them vacate the premises within
Fourteen (14) days upon receipt of the said sum. Copy of the said letter is hereto annexed and
marked as “ANNEXURE G”.
In response to the said letter, our members caused their Solicitors to write on their behalf
rejecting the offer vide letter dated 27th December, 2019 Which Was Also re-issued on 20th January, 2020 on account of misplacement of the earlier one by the Ministry. Copy of our said
letter is hereto annexed and marked as “ANNEXURE H”.
Upon further discreet investigation made by our members, its was discovered that one Chief
Shola Idowu, an alleged All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftain, of Shola Idowu Estate
Developer & Company, acting in concert with one Abbass Adenekan, an acclaimed land
grabber, one Mr. Onyeze and some unknown Ministry of Transportation Officials, were behind
the clandestine move to forcefully and unlawfully dispossess the mechanics, of the occupation of
their workshop/business premises, with a view of transferring same to a private individual,
apparently in exchange for financial gains.
As a matter of fact, the said Mr. Onyeze has been boasting since 2017 that our members will be
dislodged at all costs from their business premises as all it takes for him to do so is to deploy
millions of Naira to staffers of the Ministry of Transportation/LSDPC to enable him achieve his
Again, our members were subjected to all manners of harassment and inhuman treatment as they
were arrested and detained for days by the men and officers of the Nigerian Police at Zone 2
Headquaters, Onikan, Lagos upon the instigation of the trio of Abbas Adenekan, Shola Idowu
and Onyeze. In addition, they were arraigned on trumped up charges at the Igbosere Magistrate
Court, lagos and were made to spend about two (2) weeks at the Ikoyi Prison before they were
granted court bail.
In the recent times also, our members were invited to several meetings by the office of the
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation where they were informed to vacate their
business premises on ground that the same is required for public use. How Mr. Onyeze’s
business interests constitute public use is what we cannot fathom. They were however assured of
being relocated to another better and suitable premises backed with appropriate legal title to
enable our members carry on with their practice/trade in addition to being paid some
compensation to make up for the unqualified serious inconveniences, loss of clientele and
goodwill to be suffered.
To our members’ dismay, the various alternative premises shown to them were not only
inhabitable, there are also serious contention on them by land speculators. As a matter of fact, on
one occasion, our members and officials of Ministry of Transport that went to visit these sites
were pelted with stones! As such our members had no other choice than to reject those offers.
The Ministry of Transportation subsequently resorted to locking up the entire business premises
of our members, thus denying them access, preventing them from earning their livelihood
culminating in the forceful and illegal eviction from their permanent site/workshop on the 7
th day of July 2020 by men of the Lagos State Ministry of Transport and the Nigerian Police Force led by one Mr. Lawal at around 3 am in the night. Our members’ vehicles and tools of trade were destroyed and carted away to an unknown destination resulting in our members incurring huge debt running to several hundreds of millions of naira even as the owners of the vehicles are now after our members. It is important to emphasize at this point that this eviction has followed a regular pattern whereby the Ministry of Transport which ordinarily should be concerned about creating more spaces for mechanics to do their work in an orderly fashion in accordance with the original vision of theLagos State government has been now become land speculators colluding with private interests to evict mechanics from the mechanic villages. As we speak, The Babs Animashaun Mechanic
Village from where mechanics were evicted in 2017 under similar circumstances as this one has been permanently occupied by armed thugs since then while various permanent structures including a petro station have been constructed, right under high tension electricity grids posinggrave risks to members of the public! Indeed, in the past 20 years over 40 mechanic villages,
markets and other informal production have been taken over by private interests with active connivance of Lagos state government officials. We call on His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State to urgently intervene and arrest this ugly trend
which not only tramples on the constitutional rights of Lagosians to legitimate pursuit of their
livelihoods but also rubbishes several international covenants emphasizing the need for informal workers to access public spaces to do their work and offer needed services to member sof the public. We appeal that our member be allowed back to their work place with all the seized
vehicles and work tools returned to them immediately in the interest of justice and good order in Lagos State failing which we will continue to use all legitimate avenues to press for justice to be done.
Asiwaju J.O. Fayeun
Chairman, Nigeria Automobile Technicians’ Association (NATA