Members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, have expressed shock over the state of affairs on the land which the union bought in Mowe, Ogun State over a decade ago, worrying that no major development has taken place on the 56.753-hectare land.
The journalists, who were on tour of the large expanse of land recently, regretted that upon their peculiar circumstances in the country, a self-help programme initiated by the leadership of the union to provide shelter for its members has been left to waste away and be a subject of embarrassment to all.
Out of the 56.753 hectares of land, less than a plot of land has been fenced despite the N60, 000 each subscriber has paid for perimeter fencing more than five years ago to the immediate past administration led by Deji Elumoye.
The gate house and iron gate were not yet completed and, according to Musa Odoshimokhe, The Nation Newspaper’s chapel chairman, “they fell short of standard”, as they suffered from corrosion due to long years of inactivity on the land. The survey pillars have been washed away.
There were three uncompleted structures on the land, built by the developer, Primewaterview Holdings Limited, which also fell short of expectation in terms of standard and did not justify the amount members were made to pay to them.
“This is not the type of house they told us we would get. This is exploitation and it is a shame. A lot of our members had high hope of owning their house through this project, but now this seems like a shattered dream,” Odoshimokhe lamented.
Qasim Akinreti, the council chairman, however, assured subscribers to the land of his administration’s determination to find a lasting solution to the identified problems.
It would be recalled that the land has been enmeshed in crises following a controversial housing project initiated by the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) President, Ify Omowole
Fabian Anawo, chairman, Investigative Committee on the NUJ/NAWOJ Pen Jewel Estate Project, briefed members on the committee’s findings, assuring that the committee would do its best to find a lasting solution to the problem.
“We are aware that subscribers are agitated. We share their pains. But soon, we shall resolve the debacle. Please just tell your chapel members to be patient with the council”, he appealed.
Muyiwa Lucas, the committee’s secretary, likened the NUJ/NAWOJ Mowe land issue to a ‘cobweb’ which, he said, has to be untangled with utmost patience. He assured that the committee’s recommendations, which would be presented at the union’s February congress, would be far reaching.
“Major actors in the land issue have been interviewed by the committee, including the surveyor and ‘omo oniles’. Although the situation is messy, it is not beyond redemption. However, what form of redemption to adopt will be decided by congress because they have the final say,” Lucas said.