An infrastructure development firm, Masters Reality International Concepts Limited has issued 48-hour ultimatum to the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowoshe to retract what it terms as libelous comments on the conglomerate and its proposed N5 billion Ikeja IT Mart or be prepared to face legal action.
Anifowoshe had on Tuesday issued a statement in which he said the state government did not grant approval for the development of the project and went on to demolish the fence erected to protect the three acres of land from being encroached.
In a letter dated 19 July, 2017 written to Anifowoshe, the firm through its solicitor, Lukman Imam, accused the commissioner of falsely claiming that his office was not aware of the project on the said land on Simbiat Abiola Road, saying that a letter dated as far back as 25th April, 2017 was issued the commissioner’s office conveying planning information in respect of the proposed project.
“By the said letter written by your office, our client is in the final stage of complying with all requirements stated in your letter which will facilitate issuance and grant of building plan approval. Thus the planning permit for our client’s project (commercial) is in process. In your referenced press statement, you also spuriously alleged that our client had claimed that it was in partnership with the Lagos State Government on the said project of an ICT Mall on its land.
“Contrary to your misleading and false allegation, our client has never presented, claimed or made any representation that it is in partnership with any tier of government for its said project on the land situated at Simbiat Abiola Road, Ikeja. This fact is clearly captured in the 2nd paragraph of our Client’s letter to you dated 17th July, 2017 which was addressed and duly acknowledged by your office categorically stating that the project is a private driven initiative,” the letter said.
The letter also said that Master Reality International Concept Limited never said it had obtained approval for the project as being claimed by the commission, saying that “we categorically assert that there is no where (written or unwritten, directly or indirectly) where our client claimed that there is an approval or plan for the project. We restate that your statement is a calculated attempt to misled the public and project our client in bad light.
“It is shocking and disheartening that you expressly referred to our client as a fraudster in your ill conceived statement to the press. It is astonishing and unthinkable that a reputable conglomerate that has paid well over N11 million in respect of its various projects, particularly Alade Market, Ikeja can be offhandedly referred to as a fraudster. Your libelous reference to our client as a fraudster (directly and by innuendo) has adversely affected its enviable reputation, good standing and meritorious rating in the business community particularly amongst its partners, foreign associates, bankers, investors and subscribers.”
The company also said its fence was illegally demolished by the Physical Planning Ministry on the guise that it did not obtain approval for it, adding that it did not need to seek approval to erect a fence for the purpose of safeguarding its property.
“The height of your malice and injustice against our client we are aware is not unrelated to our client’s petition against your person which petition was forwarded to the Attorney General of Lagos State in a letter dated 29th March, 2017 following your rampage in our client’s project at the Alade Market, Ikeja. Suffice to say that your current demolition of our client’s fence on its land at Simbiat Abiola Road, Ikeja on 18th July, 2017 on the excuse that it did not obtain fencing permit is unlawful and gross abuse of power.
“It is instructive to state that one does not need to obtain any form of approval or permit to erect a fence over or around one land particularly to wade off miscreants or discourage perpetration of criminal acts on the land in respect of which the owner of the land may be held responsible by the government. What is common all over the world is the building approval not fence or fencing approval. Without fear of contradiction, we make bold to say that there is an equivocal difference between a building and a fence,” the letter said
In the light of the above, the letter stated that, “Consequently, we hereby demand that within 48 hours effective from the date of receipt of this letter, you retract the offensive statement issued by you to the press and re-erect our clients fence unlawfully and maliciously demolished at Simbiat Abiola Road, Ikeja
“Take notice that if you fail, refuse and/or neglect to comply with the above demands, we shall be constrained with no other option but to take appropriate legal action(s) against you, your office and the State Government.”