Ajao Estate Mansions Demolition :My Story..Veteran Journalist Felix Oguejiofor Abugu

Details have emerged on how a former Editor of The Guardian on Saturday and former Deputy Managing Director of New Telegraph Newspapers, Mr. Felix Oguejiofor Abugu, lost his house in an early morning demolition of houses carried out at the weekend by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Valued at over N70 million, the house where Abugu and his family lived until Friday, April 28, 2023, stood on a plot of land bought 12 years ago from the Baale Adejumolu family of Isolo, and located within the Runview/Mercy Estate owned by FAAN, some five kilometers to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMA), Ikeja, Lagos.

In an interview with reporters in Lagos, Mr. Abugu, a veteran of over three decades in journalism and MD/Editor-in-Chief of AbeyaNews online, said: “I am a distraught land owner here and my family is on the street right now, but let’s be clear about one thing: neither the government of Lagos nor its agencies had anything to do with the demolitions per se. The land belongs to FAAN and it simply paid for the services of the concerned agency of Lagos to demolish our houses and, I must add, unjustifiably. So, away with the drivel about Lagos targeting anyone or group!”

Narrating his ordeal, Abugu further disclosed: “Every single landlord in what was once known as RICHFIELD ESTATE Estate before it changed to RUNVIEW/MERCY ESTATE Estate after ownership of the real Estate reverted to FAAN, bought their land from the Adejumolu family. I bought mine in September 2011. Some bought much earlier. But all of us bought from the Adejumolu family on the basis of a court judgment shown to each and every buyer by the family, indicating that the land belonged to the family.

I bought mine in September 2011. Some bought much earlier. But all of us bought from the Adejumolu family on the basis of a court judgment shown to each and every buyer by the family, indicating that the land belonged to the family.

“However, ownership of the land reverted to FAAN after another court ruling whereupon FAAN took over the Estate and renamed it RUNVIEW/MERCY ESTATE and invited landlords to come for ownership regularisation’. Even those of us from the side that has now been destroyed were invited but were later denied the privilege of regularizations for reasons that were never clear.

“Indeed, I believe that the reasons for this wicked demolition of our property that some bought 15-20 years back and subsequent displacement of our families and disruption of our lives, are as untenable as they are varied. The truth is that FAAN had no justifiable reasons to demolish our property. If it regularized houses even across the street, what was so offensive about our side of the street that they had to destroy our houses at a time like this and send our families out on the streets?”

Lamenting the situation as it affects his family, Abugu said: “How does one handle this type of situation? This is a property that one put in practically everything one had to be able to develop and live with one’s family and now gbum! and it is gone, just in one hour of merciless destruction! I just don’t know what to do.”

A report quoted a reliable FAAN sources to have given several reasons that accounted for the demolition of the 13 or so residential houses that fenced off an undeveloped part of the FAAN land (mainly vegetable farms) from the Runview Estate.

One is that that the narrow swathe of land running from one end of the Estate to the other and housing the demolished buildings, with a street in-between to separate them from another set of houses, is “a red zone”, meaning that it is too close to the airport for any non-aviation development to take place, “a very untenable reason,” according to a source, “given the closeness of the standing buildings to the demolished ones.”

Two is that the stretch of land is encumbered, meaning, according further findings, that underneath the land are structures that cannot be built upon, such as a disused fuel pipeline running from NNPC Ejigbo to MMA through less than half of the land bearing the demolished houses (FAAN inspectors who dug underneath were later to confirm that the stretch bearing Mr. Abugu’s land was unencumbered).

Three is that the houses had to be demolished for an internal road to pass from one end of the Estate to the Airport Road and create a short-cut for residents who currently have to take a much longer detour into the Estate, as an earlier attempt to cut a road through to the Airport Road was reportedly thwarted by some powerful landlords who didn’t want the road to pass in front of their property.

Four is that the Landlords/Residents Association wanted to punish “a stubborn developer who backfilled the canal we had dug as a natural boundary between us and FAAN, leading to the sale of the plots of land that came out of his effort by the Adejumolu family”, an official of the Association disclosed, hence the incitement of FAAN against the “stubborn developer” and his line where landlords had already started receiving their regularization notices before they were withdrawn again.

Five is that some officials of FAAN allegedly wanted their own plots of land in the Estate which they couldn’t access when the Adejumolu family steel owned the property, and found it convenient to demolish the houses, many of them multi-million naira edifices, with intent to parcel out the lands to themselves much later.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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