Months after the revocation of the allocation of the land on which Abraham’s Tabernacle, former Governor Gbenga Daniel’s father’s church was built and its subsequent demolition in Sagamu, the immediate past Governor of Ogun State might have cause to worry again.
This is coming on the heels of the revocation of the allocation of the land on which Otunba Daniel built Asoludero Court, his Sagamu home.. Also affected by the revocation is the expanse of land which houses the Compass Newspapers owned by the former Governor.
The state government had constituted a panel to probe the allocation of land during Daniel’s eight-year rule. The panel submitted that the acquisition of the lands on which the properties were built neither followed due process nor laid down procedures.
According to the White Paper submitted by the panel after its investigation, the only evidence that the former Governor paid for the land on which he sited his Sagamu home pointed in the direction that only N 2,000 was paid. It was further stated that the file for the allocation of the Sagamu property has since disappeared from the state’s Bureau of Lands.
Findings made by the panel on former Governor Daniel’s Sagamu land in the report read inter alia:
1 The file for this allocation has disappeared from the offices of the Bureau of Lands and Survey. The Commission was informed by the officials that it was one of several files whose last movements were traced to the office of the former DG Lands, Surveyor Gbenga Ogunnoiki and could not be found after he left office. They informed the Commission that the former DG took away with him several files which he never returned, and that this was one of them.
2 The Commission however summoned the allottees Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Yeye Olufunke Daniel to appear and explain the circumstances of the allocation. Although they did not appear in person, they sent a representative in the person of BARRISTER GBENGA OJEKUNLE who told the commission that he had their authority to testify for, and on their behalf, and the commission allowed him to do so.
3 Barrister Gbenga Ojekunle not only testified orally on behalf of the Daniels, he also tendered as exhibits, documents evidencing the allocation.
4 Officials of the Bureau of Lands and Survey, also testified. So did the petitioners, DIPO DINA MOVEMENT.
5 The Commission found that an allocation letter dated 6th August 2004 was issued to the allottees for ”portion of Block 1 plots 7 and 8, and Block XXXVIII plots 1 and 2 within the amended part of the GRA Sagamu” measuring 8752.243 sq. mtrs for the sum of N1,227,810.00, for which copies of receipts of payment was tendered.
6 The Commission found also that there had been an earlier letter of allocation simply ‘dated April 2004’, issued to the allottees for the same land, measuring the same size, for a consideration of N3, 367,805.00, for which there were cheques dated 8th April 2004 issued and purportedly paid but for which they could not produce official receipt, and of which there is no trace whatsoever in the records of the Bureau of Lands
7 The Commission found that the former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, signed the Certificate of Occupancy on the 21st April, 2005 and the same is registered at the lands registry Abeokuta as No: 15/15/628.
8 The commission found that whereas the allottees were granted and paid for only 8752.243 sq mtrs, the survey plan attached to the certificate of occupancy issued to them indicates a larger area, specifically, 1.659 HECTARES.
9 The Bureau of Lands submitted a report to the Commission and also confirmed in their oral testimony as follows:
a. that the only evidence of payment for this allocation in their records is for the sum of TWO THOUSAND NAIRA ONLY (2,000.00 naira only)
b. that part of the land allocated to the Daniels, specifically, plot 12, had on it a GOVERNMENT VIP GUEST HOUSE and a PHCN QUARTERS at the time of the allocation .
c. that part of the land, specifically, plot 1A, had already been allocated to and belonged to one MR ADENIYI LATEEF ADENUGA (with certificate of occupancy)
d. that part of the said land, specifically, plot 1B, was already allocated to and belonged to one Oluwatoyin O. Amuzat (with certificate of occupancy)
e. that part of the land, specifically, plot 1C, was already allocated to and belonged to one TEMITOPE BUKUNOLA SODE (with certificate of occupancy)
f. that both the government VIP GUEST HOUSE and the PHCN QUARTERS were immediately before the allocation to the Daniels being occupied by officials of the government and the said agency.
10. Alhaji Busura who testified on behalf of the Bureau of Lands on this allocation, and who personally did the allocation, admitted before the Commission that it was wrong to have merged all the land which had these prior commitments and allocation and grant same to the Daniels, but that he had no choice in the matter as he acted strictly upon the instruction and directive of his boss, the them DG, surveyor. Gbenga Ogunnoiki.
11. The commission was further informed by the Bureau of Lands that only one of the allottees who were displaced and dispossessed as a result of the allocation made to the Daniels, Mr Adeniyi Lateef Adenuga was relocated to another plot.
12. It is worthy of note that the titles of these previous owners remain unrevoked, valid and still subsisting on the Register of Titles till date.
The panel also made the following recommendations
1. Certificate of occupancy registered as No 15/15/628 of 21/4/05 (and the recertified one number 0000003 dated June 2010) issued by ex-Governer Gbenga Daniel to himself and his wife while other prior registered interests/rights in the land subsisted, and for a size of land larger than what they were allocated and paid is VOID in law having NO LEGAL EFFECT WHATSOEVER. Two or more registered titles cannot exist on the same land at the same time. By law, the first in time must prevail. Accordingly, the Commission recommends that Certificate of Occupancy no 15/15/628 of 21/4/05 and the recertified Certificate of Occupancy thereto be cancelled.
2. Also, the Commission will be failing in its duty if it does not comment further on the conduct of Otunba Gbenga Daniel in this matter. While acknowledging the fact that a sitting public officer such as a governor has a right, like other citizens to buy and own property in the state where he is governor, the Commission considers it a blatant abuse of office, power and breach of the trust reposed in him by the people, for the ex-governor, OTUNBA JUSTUS OLUGBENGA DANIEL, to APPROPRIATE to his family, land belonging to other citizens, the State and even a Federal Government Agency and to have allowed his personal interest to override public interest in this manner.
Meanwhile, the panel also stated that the allocation of the Compass Newspapers land was done in 2008. It however averred that papers and payment for the land, which in the first instance was 50 hectares, were only perfected in 2011.