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Renowned journalist loses N70million home in Lagos demolition *Exonerates Lagos govt



Felix Oguejiofor Abugu, former Editor of The Guardian on Saturday and former Deputy Managing Director of New Telegraph Newspapers, has 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 N70m, 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 kilometres to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMA), Ikeja, Lagos.

According to reliable FAAN sources, several reasons 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 still 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.

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 before it changed to RUNVIEW/MERCY 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.

“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 regularisations 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 regularised 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.”


Speak now! Catholic priests want Kaduna gov’s reaction to El-Rufai’s Islamisation comments



Uba Sani, must either officially distance himself or affirm the declaration of his predecessor Nasir El-Rufai that Muslim-Muslim executive branch leadership, have come to stay or stand up to denounce it immediately.

These were the demands from Catholic priests in parts of the North, who as they expressed disgust at the statement, which showed the former governor captured in a video, which went viral last week, practically celebrating the continuation of an arrangement, which he first introduced in 2019, and which has now been sustained with the new governor having a Muslim deputy.

Clerics from Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria chapters of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), in a public letter to Sani, urged him to declare his position on what they described as political supremacism in Kaduna state and Nigeria, as part of their reactions to the video, which has raised a lot of dust.

El-Rufai, who in his speech to Muslim clerics in the state, had recounted how after instituting an all-Muslim executive in the state himself and made it permanent in the state, the arrangement was pushed through at the national level with the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, as President and Vice President, respectively on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Informing that while Nigerians were actually believed that religion was not the issue in pushing through with the ticket, when it was in fact the case, the former Governor, who spoke in Hausa, declared that the arrangement had come to stay and would last for the next 20 years at the initial stage after Tinubu, adding that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had been defeated by the outcome.

But an apparently thoroughly upset Catholic priests, in an open letter on Thursday, said: “Having soberly considered the contents and implications of such communication by a former state governor who is known to be your close ally, we feel compelled to write you, to know where you stand with regard to the commotions Mallam El-Rufai intends to propagate and perpetuate in our state,” the letter reads.

“We write you today because we are responsible stakeholders in the affairs of our beloved state with our own congregations and followers. Mr governor, we do not intend to conclude that you are in agreement with all the content of the former governor’s utterances, as you have given no explicit reason to suggest so (yet), even though you were present at the occasion! We therefore earnestly expect your direct official reaction to the utterances of your predecessor in office.”

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Buhari spent more than $19billion on revamping four refineries without result – Nasarawa gov



Barely two weeks after his exit, the records of former President Muhammadu Buhari, have come to to the fore with one of them indicating a damning verdict, as he was said to have sunk a whopping $19billion in trying to rehabilitate the nation’s four refineries, without anything to show for it.

Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nassarawa State, who used the former President abysmal failure to make a case for supporting the removal on petroleum products, compared the huge wastage to the amount Dangote refinery, cost to give Nigeria a facility with the single chain production in the world.

None of Nigeria’s four refineries, located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri is currently operational despite the huge amount sunk to resuscitate them, most of the funds borrowed from foreign lending agencies, the latest being the securing of $1.5million loan for that of Port Harcourt.

Bemoaning the situation, the governor, said: “Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more money than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery. That is one and a half times the size of our three refineries combined.”

A guest on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programm of Channels Television on Thursday, Sule, pinned the payments of subsidy on Nigeria’s non-functional refineries, adding: “From the government side, I think we didn’t do a good job. When the (former) President (Buhari) came in in 2015, prices of crude oil dropped by less than 30 dollars. At that time, there was zero subsidy.

“Our three refineries in Nigeria today have a total of 450,000 barrels per day, Dangote is 650,000. He spent $19 billion on building it. We spent, not building a new one, but in maintaining these refineries; more than $19 billion in eight years, yet they have not been maintained.”

The Dangote Refinery, Africa’s biggest oil refinery, which took off in 2017, drew Nigerians and global personalities in different fields of life, including four African Presidents at its commissioning on May 22, 2023 by Buhari.

Sule, who also lamented the complexity of maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components, added: “The refinery is actually a component for water, crude, and diesel, about five or six different components that constitute a refinery. The moment the government says we are going to spend $2 billion this year on the refinery. The $2 billion is spent and as far as the President is concerned, they have given $2 billion.

“Now when it goes to the three refineries that we have in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. Then they say, you now take $700 million, you now take $800 million – by the time they take that, it goes to fix maybe only one component out of the four components that are all bad. The ideal resolve would have been to allocate the major funds to one of the refining states to fix it totally before allocating the remainder to the other states.

“So, zero work is done. These are the true realities of what is happening, and that is why none of the refineries is working. These are truly the problem, we have not really managed this thing well.”

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Japan goes tough on asylum seekers, enacts new law to check abuse



Despite desperate attempts to block it, including a ruckus, which broke out in parliament Japan went ahead on Friday to enact an immigration law that would see the government deporting failed asylum seekers, even with members of civil society, joining in the pushback.

The law gives refugees only three chances to try after which they would face deportation, unlike before when applicants could stay in Japan during the decision process, regardless of the number of attempts they made to secure refugee status, reports, say.

The revised law will “protect those who must be protected while strictly dealing with people who have violated rules. There are many people who misuse the application system to avoid deportation,” Justice Minister Ken Saito, was quoted as saying, adding that this had persisted even when such people were not fleeing danger or persecution.

Last year, Japan accepted just 202 refugees out of some 12,500 applicants, and separately allowed 1,760 people to remain in the country due to “humanitarian considerations,” including more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under a different framework.

Activists staged rallies against the revised law, but a protest from the opposition bloc in parliament was voted down by the ruling coalition, which holds a commanding majority.

“It is intolerable to deport people, even if they have criminal records, to countries that may violate their human rights” and where “their life and freedom would be in danger”, the Tokyo Bar Association said this week.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party says the revisions will bring better access to medical care and accommodation options for people whose asylum applications are pending.

Japan’s immigration detention conditions have been under scrutiny since the 2021 death of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman.

Sandamali was not an asylum seeker but had been held for overstaying her visa after seeking police protection, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship.

Her family are seeking compensation of more than $1 million from the government over her death.

Sandamali reportedly complained repeatedly of stomach pain and other symptoms, and campaigners allege she received inadequate medical care.

Controversy and political pressure over the incident led ruling lawmakers to drop a push to enact similar legal changes to immigration rules two years ago.

Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer for Sandamali’s family, told AFP on Thursday that the revised bill was “equivalent to having a button to execute those who seek refuge by deporting them”.

“Japan’s refugee recognition system is not working,” he said, with officials turning down applications quickly, sometimes without face-to-face interviews.

Amnesty International also said in March that Japan should scrap the proposed revision to immigration laws, calling the country’s detention policies “harsh” and “repressive.”

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