Osborne Residents Battle Lekki Gardens Over Refusal to Obey Court Orders

Residents of the Osborne Foreshore Estate in Ikoyi, Lagos state have protested the refusal of Lekki Gardens Estate Limited and Foreshore Waters Limited to comply with a federal high court order restraining them from going ahead with construction work in the estate premises.

Bearing placards and donned in red vests with “Save Our Souls” imprinted on them, members of the Osborne Foreshore Residents Association (OSFRA) chanted “no to overbuilding”, in response to attempts by the Lekki Gardens to build 84 housing units in the estate, after 28 were originally approved by the state.
Speaking to journalists, OSFRA chairman, Chinwe Ezenwa-Mbah said the estate had secured a court order restraining the company and its Managing Director, Richard Nyong from further development plans.

She said, “We are here to say enough is enough. People should build what they are approved to build. We are saying no to overbuilding. You cannot give somebody approval for 28 units and he is building 84, and Lagos state is asking us to look the other way.
“We’re asking Lagos state to hear us, we have been crying to them, they just ignored us (sic).
“Physical planning will come here, the next two days they came back themselves and open it up. They told us they opened it for them (Lekki Gardens) to scale down, but instead of scaling down, they’ve been building.

“We got a court order asking Lekki Gardens to stop all work, they only obeyed the court order for only one day, the next day they issued a letter and said ‘continue working, the court does not matter, that they are court of concurrent jurisdiction.’ I don’t know what that means in their dictionary or who is advising them.”
Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High Court in Lagos had, in a ruling, restrained Lekki Gardens Estate Limited and Foreshore Waters Limited whether by themselves or through their agents, servants, privies or assigns or otherwise howsoever from constructing, developing, building or carrying out any further construction, development or building activities in the estate.

Another resident, Hector Etomi, echoed the stance of the chairman, and said there was need for law and order in the estate.
He said, “We want law and order because without law and order, we would be finished in this estate. It is our land. It is our building. We were allocated this land by the Federal government, and we must defend this estate. It is a low density estate, if you see the buildings in there, they are sinking, and they have blocked our canal.”

Ezenwa-Mbah also alleged that in defiance of the court order, Lekki Gardens said it has the judiciary and the police in its pockets.
She also referred to an incident that occurred on Thursday, where estate residents asked that workers of Lekki Gardens register before they are allowed into the premises.
She said OSFRA had complied with an original court order granting free entry and exit into the premises, but wanted the company to comply with the most recent judgement to halt work.

The residents have now called on the federal government to intervene in the matter and help prevent the estate from collapsing.

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