For land buyers at the Oko-Orisan land scheme, a waterfront residential scheme being developed by the Lagos State government, taking possession of their property is becoming a dream, whereas the state government is dithering on the physical allocation of plots to them many years later.

The buyers recall that when the state government advertised this scheme in 2010, it attracted interest from many Nigerians, including those in the Diaspora, who were excited by the offer, not only because it was an opportunity to own a home in Lagos, but also because of what they saw as the safety of their investment.

But 12 years after some of these buyers made their payment for the scheme, they have not taken possession of what they paid for, creating a feeling in them that, unless Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu intervenes in their case, they may risk losing the land to more influential people in society.

Believing in the strength of numbers, some of those who invested in the scheme, including Hakeem Ibrahim, formed a group known as Oko-Orisan Waterfront Scheme Subscribers Group through which they have been engaging with the government.

“In 2012, I purchased a piece of land in the Oko-Orisan Waterfront Scheme in the Lekki area of the state. Some other subscribers bought into the scheme as far back as 2010. The fee I paid for the plot was N3.8 million only, though I was receipted for only N3.3 million,” Ibrahim recalled in a statement obtained by BusinessDay at the weekend.

Ibrahim recalled further that all the buyers were issued original copies of allocation letters and official receipts from the Lands Bureau in the office of the Governor, citing his own personal allocation letter which was dated May 12, 2012.

“We have severally visited the appropriate offices in Alausa to inquire about progress, and the relevant officials of the state government have always confirmed and assured that our documentations were genuine and valid,” he said, lamenting that more than 12 years later, the situation has not changed.

But a major twist has filtered into the scheme as, according to Ibrahim, the official reason the government officials have given for the prolonged delay is that, since around 2013, the scheme had been suspended to allow for redesigning.

He disclosed that they have expressed disaffection in writing (which was sighted by BusinessDay) to the Office of the Special Adviser on Housing, who minuted the letter to the Bureau’s Legal Department.

The group, he added, has also visited the Land Bureau office, noting that the hope of the group was diminished when, in response to their inquiry about the plots of land, the Lands Bureau informed them that the Orisan scheme was being redesigned and remodeled.

He cited the state government’s letter (which BusinessDay also sighted) with reference number LU/OWF/RES/18/89, dated April 2, 2024, addressed to: Oko Orisan Waterfront Scheme Subscribers Group, Attention Mrs. Akinloye, stating, Re: Demand for the Physical Allocation of Our Land Purchased from the Lagos State Government in the Oko Orisan Waterfront Scheme”.

“In the letter signed by A. Odukogbe, for the Executive Secretary, Land Use and Allocation Committee, Governor’s Office, Lands Bureau, the state government stated, ‘we acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated March 20, 2024, in respect of the above subject matter and inform you that the state government has embarked on redesigning and remodelling of Orisan Waterfront Scheme.

In view of this, none of the allottees can take physical possession or process their respective Certificate of Occupancy until the conclusion of the exercise. Please, be assured that all allottees will be contacted as soon as the exercise is concluded,” the group recalled.

In their response to the state government’s letter on May 8, 2024, the group expressed regret over government’s failure to specify timelines in the letter, adding that they were yet to receive any response from the state government as at the time of writing this report.