Wednesday, January 16, 2019 8:37 am
The widow of the late Brigadier General Samuel Laiye Teidi, Hajia Fatima has accused a friend of her late husband, and former governorship aspirant in Ogun State, Mr Jimi Lawal of conniving with the Kaduna State government to take over a 10 hectare land jointly owned by her and her late husband. The land in question is located at Bagado Village, Kamazou Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Mr. Lawal, a Special Adviser to the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai was once the Managing Director of the defunct Alpha Merchant Bank Limited. He was accused of being involved in what appears to be a high level move to take over about 10 hectares of land allegedly belonging to Lottalan Nigeria Limited, a company owned by the Teidi family and run by Hajia Fatima.
However, Mr Lawal in a telephone chat denied any wrong doing, claiming that the Kaduna State government took over the controversial land in the interest of the public. He said that the state government has given the land to a contractor who is currently building a low cost housing estate on it.
In a petition by Hajia Teidi, the land in question was purchased by her and her husband, the late General Teidi in the name of their company in 1989 from a company, NFS Foods Nigeria Ltd.
Hajia Teidi claimed that after about three failed attempts by some other people to take over the land, she was advised by some people to approach Mr. Lawal, a close aide of Gov El-Rufai for assistance.
She explained that after the advice, she had called Mr. Lawal on telephone and explained her predicaments over the land to him. She said while Mr. Lawal had promised to help look at the complications around the failed attempts by some other interests to take over the land from her, she was asked to drop all necessary documents which could help prove her ownership of the land and which would make the Kaduna State authorities ensure that she got justice.
Hajia Teidi however got the shock of her life when, last year, her lawyer got a call from Mr. Lawal who advised that Hajia Teidi to forget about the land and that possibly another land would be allocated to her by the state government.
“That was a surprise to me. The same Mr. Jimi Lawal to whom I took my problem and who since I dropped all my land documents with, never called me or got back to me to update me on the situation with the land,” she lamented
Before the latest move by Mr. Lawal, a petition had earlier in 2017, been forwarded to the office of the Governor of Kaduna State where Lottalan Nigeria Limited chronicled its ordeals in the hands of different interests who had made spirited moves to take over the land.
Of particular mention in that petition was the alleged criminal trespass on the said land in 2015 by one Alhaji Mohammed Umaru who had moved equipment to the land and destroyed the property on it; cutting the land into 100 x 50 plots with what she described as “roguish intention to sell to unsuspecting members of the public.”
The disputed land is currently a subject of litigation before a Kaduna High Court. It is registered with suit number KDH/KAD/154/15. The trial judge in the matter, Justice H.T.D Gwadah on December 12, 2018 granted an order to one of the parties in the suit, Alhaji Muhammed Umaru, to demolish all the improvement/development effected on the disputed parcel of land while the case has not been determined. The judge adjourned further hearing of the suit to December 19, 2018. The suit could not however go on and it has been adjourned till another date in February 2019.
In a telephone chat with Gavel International, Mr Lawal confirmed that Hajia Teidi is the widow of his late friend and that he did everything he could to assist her on the land in question. “However, her title documents were fake as she claimed to have obtained the Certificate of Occupancy from a local government. Everybody knows that under the Land Use Act, all lands in a state is vested in the governor”, he said.
Mr Lawal said further that since there were other contestants for the land, government decided to acquire it in the interest of the public. “Presently, government has given the land to a contractor who is currently building a low cost housing estate for the people of Kaduna State”.
He said further that it was unfortunate that despite the government acquisition, Hajia Teidi went to the land and destroyed the fence of the proposed estate. The contractor has spent over N200 million on the site. He concluded that government plans to give another land to Hajia Teidi in another location.