National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Muiz Banire (SAN), has alleged that he and his family are being persecuted by the Lagos State government.
He made the allegation in a statement issued on Wednesday. According to Mr. Banire, his only offense is that he insisted on the need to observe the rule of law. Mr. Banire, who is on lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabi, said he was informed on Tuesday of a contravention notice served on the residence of his 90-year old mother, Mrs. Sarat Banire, at 24A, Remi Fani-Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos by officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
The notice, he said, contained a demand that his mother should, within 24 hours, provide the planning permit obtained before the building was constructed.
The contravention, he added, also contained a threat that his mother’s two-bedroom bungalow will be demolished within 48 hours of service the notice.
He stated that the house has not been altered since it was acquired on a lease from the Federal Government.
“My siblings and I acquired a lease of the property known as 24A, Remi Fani-Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, from the Federal Government to serve as residence for my aged mother. The lease covered the two-bedroom bungalow already on the land together with a boys’ quarter. I did not have any reason to rebuild the house or do any further construction as the place was fit for the purpose for which it was acquired on lease,” said Mr. Banire.
He added that his mother has not reconfigured the house save for minor renovation like painting.
“The reason why we could not develop the property to make it more befitting is that we are still awaiting federal consent to the lease created in my mother’s favor. Surprisingly, on 14 November, the contravention notice purportedly served by government requires that a building permit must be produced for an old building, the existence of which predated the lease by which my mother became the occupier of the premises. The property belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which granted a lease to my mother and save for minor renovations to make it habitable, no single efforts at construction or reconstruction has been made by any of us,” he said.
Mr. Banire wondered how the government could demand that a tenant should produce a building permit of a property that belongs to her landlord within 24 hours. He recalled that he had previously accused the Lagos State government, under Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, of launching a vengeance mission against him, having failed to have him removed as APC National Legal.
The state government, Mr. Banire further alleged, has targeted his supporters. He pointed to the sealing up of the residence of Mrs. Funmilayo Tejuoso, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, without a court order and in disregard for pending proceedings of the Lagos State High Court in a suit filed by the lawmaker’s company against the Lagos State Government.
“I had been expecting that since I was the ultimate target, having received several messages threatening my family members and me. Very soon, my properties shall become objects of demolition by the vindictive government that is out to wage war against real and perceived enemies. I am, therefore, not surprised to see that my aged mother’s residence is under attack,” he stated.
He wondered why a tenant should be required to produce the building permit by which the property leased to him was constructed and questioned the urgency behind the 24-hour notice to produce a building permit of which he/she could not have been in possession.
Mr. Banire maintained that the threat of demolition within 48 hours was inspired by nothing other than vendetta.
“It is clear that Minister’s Consent to the lease, in accordance with the law, is still under processing with the Office of the Minister for Power, Works and Housing in Abuja and same has not come out, which prevents the building from being developed. The building is not dilapidated and neither does it constitute danger to any life or property. What exactly brought this building within the context of demolition if not that it is linked to Muiz Banire?” he asked.
The APC National Legal Adviser stated that he is not perturbed because his call for the respect of rule of law and an end to imposition within the party came out of personal conviction.
He added that all necessary reactions to the notice have been escalated to both the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government. He also declared that he has notified his lawyers to respond to the notice appropriately.