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Illegal gate erection in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos

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By Mercy Kelani

Area residents protested against this act as it demands payment for access code.

Recently, some aggrieved landlords in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos State, have appealed to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-olu for intervention in illegal street gates and road Access Codes mandated by the North-East Lekki Neighborhood Association (NELNA). The aggrieved house owners were led by Prince Ayoola Ojeikere as they protested against the blockage of Admiralty Road. The road blockage was described as an infringement of the rights of to movement of residents. Ojeikere, therefore, requested that the governor stops construction of these gates and issuance of Access Codes to access the roads.

The leader of the protest lamented that since NELNA began issuance of access code to residents, the hardship and stress of residents, both motoring and pedestrians, in having access to their homes and going about their businesses has increased drastically. Residents now have to trek long distances from the gate to their homes as public vehicles have been banned from accessing the gates. He stated that this development has chased away potential tenants and business owners from the area, subjecting residents and visitors to mental disturbance.

Access codes are used to victimize residents who rebuke the unlawful act.

Also, Ojeikere said that a group of community residents made a decision to construct a huge gate on the Admiralty Road with barricades that require access codes into Fatai, Idowu Arobieke Street, Lekki Phase 1 and other neighboring streets. These codes have been indiscriminately used for the victimization of residents and stakeholders who rebuke and fail to join their illegal act. Some of the group members have been approached to find solution to the illegal restriction and blockage but with no results.

A protest letter has been presented to the Lagos State’s Ministry of Transportation, the Lagos State Building Control, Ministry of Environment and Eti-Osa Local Government by the aggrieved landlords. Several meetings have also been held with relevant state agents, particularly at the Ministry of Transportation. Ojeikere stated that requesting money from people for access codes to drive on roads constructed with taxes is illegal and should not be permitted. He added that he was asked to pay N300,000 for an access code to the roads.

DPO of the area says all gates should be left open during the day.

An aggrieved landlord, Chief Stanley Odijie, asserted that according to his investigation, NELNA is not recognized by the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, hence, their operations are illegal. At a reconciliatory meeting between community leaders and unhappy residents, the Divisional Police Officer, Maroko Police Headquarters, CSP Ganiyu Raji, also lamented the situation, describing it as disturbing. He said the government’s directives enforce that all approved gates should be open between 5.00 a.m. and 12 midnight.

CSP Raji urged communities leaders not to avoid making a big deal of the security situation in the area as he has never recorded any life-threatening crime report since his assumption of office as DPO in the area. Closure of approved gates from 12 midnight till 5.00 a.m. also include that security guards should be on the alert at the gate, in case of security patrols or emergencies. Also, any security guard who is assigned to duty outside the Nigerian Constitution is unlawful. He added with affirmation that access code is illegal, hence all gates should be open without access code.

NELNA Chairman said the gates were erected to curb crimes.

Chairman of the North-East Lekki Neighborhood Association (NELNA) and a Former Managing Director of Ecobank Plc., Patrick Akinwuntan, said that the essence of the gates is to curb criminal activities in the area. He added that the association tried to ensure the provision of a shuttle bus to help people to their various destinations within the estate, after they alight from public buses at the gate. He also asserted that the need to put an end to the growing issues in the area and diverse security threats necessitated the erection of the gate.

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