Punuka Investment faults ex-commissioner’s claim over Lekki setbacks

An investment company, Punuka Investment Limited has faulted a claim by former Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Sir Kayode Otitoju, and his wife Oladunni over setbacks in Lekki, Lagos State.

Otitoju had petitioned Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, urging him to order the unsealing of his road setback housing a mechanic workshop in Lekki Phase 1.

He said the place was sealed by the Ministry of Water Resources at the instance of the commissioner, Tokunbo Wahab, and Punuka Investment.

Otitoju’s wife, in a separate petition to the state House of Assembly, said that her farm housing an abattoir in the same location was sealed.

But Punuka Investment, in a statement by its counsel Adeyinka Abdulsalam, said: “Our attention has been drawn to two publications by Sir Otitoju and his wife, Oladunni Otitoju, in which our company’s and our director’s names feature.

“We state that Punuka Investment Limited is the owner of the property situate at Block A10 Plot 7, Layi Yusuf Crescent, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, Lagos.

“The Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency, LASPARK, is the statutory body established to manage parks, gardens, open spaces, and recreational grounds in Lagos State under the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency Law 2011.

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“In accordance with the law, Punuka Investment applied to LASPARK on August 11, 2020, for the adoption of the setback abutting the property.

“After careful consideration, including the company’s 3-D design for a beautification garden and parking facility there (forwarded to LASPARK by letter dated May 10, 2021), LASPARK granted approval to Punuka Investment. This was confirmed in their letter of April 12, 2022.

“We were in effective possession of the said setback until agents of Sir Otitoju trespassed on it and established a mechanic workshop within it.

“Punuka Investment Limited, being a law-abiding citizen, sued Sir Otitoju and his company Jukot Ventures Limited, which he purports got a license to operate a mechanic workshop within the setback and canal culvert. The purported license was obtained while the case was pending.

“Also, specific power over open spaces in the state is vested in LASPARK, not the Ministry of Transport. Further, a mechanic workshop is not a transportation activity within the purvey of the Ministry to allocate an open space.

“While the Ministry can issue licenses, it has no power to allocate an open space for this purpose. It is for the person seeking such a license to provide appropriate land where such activity can be legally operated.

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“Only LASPARK can allocate or license open spaces. Sir Otitoju and his company are determined to place various government agencies in conflict through non-disclosure and compromise of the system.

“LASPARK does not license those who adopt open spaces for trading purposes through leases to mechanic and abattoir operators in a residential/commercial highbrow area but for beautification and other environmentally friendly investment and use.

“The suit NO: LD/4808CMW/2023, is currently pending before Justice Olukolu of the High Court of Lagos State, and thus, we are unable to offer further comment on its merits because the matter is sub judice.

“We advise the Otitojus to ventilate whatever grievance they may have against the administrative actions taken by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to the appropriate authority and leave the names of our company and our director out of their publications.

“It suffices to state that the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development is responsible for ensuring the proper adherence to Lagos State’s master plan.

“Thus, an area designated for high-end commercial and residential use (such as Lekki’s new downtown of Admiralty Way) should not be used as an abattoir or mechanic workshop. It poses serious environmental risks and devalues significant investments in the area.”

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