Over 20 unit owners in Horizon Premier-1 Estate in Lekki, Lagos have dragged the developer, Lekki Gardens Estate Limited, and the Managing Director of the company, Richard Nyong, to a Lagos High Court over the alleged distortion of the estate layout to build shops in the space originally meant for children playground, green area and recreation facilities.
In the suit filed at the Lagos Division of the High Court by the law firm of Advocaat Law Practice, the claimants are demanding an immediate reversion to the original layout in the 33-unit estate, which suffered over two years of delay in delivery, a default for which the subscribers are also demanding compensation.
According to the court processes made available to newsmen, Lekki Gardens had sold units in the estate in 2015 with a pledge to deliver in 2016, which did not happen up until the time of filing the suit in 2018.
The claimants noted that rather than apologise for the delay and make adequate compensation for loss of rent revenue to subscribers, the developer, in a desperate move to raise money after suffering from a huge loss from the collapse of one of its buildings in March 2016, decided to convert the space for children’s playground, green area and recreation facilities to shops under the guise of providing facility offices.
A six-storeyed building at Ikate Elegushi area of Lekki belonging to the developer had collapsed on March 10, 2016 during construction, killing over 30 people and injuring many others.
The company and its promoters, including Nyong, are currently facing criminal charges in a Lagos State High Court for the incident.
Other defendants are Lekki Gardens’ Executive Director, Sola Olumofe; the firm’s contractor, Odofin Taiwo; Omolabake Mortune; Omotilewa Joseph; Get Too Rich Investment Limited; and HC Insight Solution Limited.
To avoid the stigma the incident brought to the Lekki Gardens brand and to shield the company from liabilities, Mr. Nyong has set up new property development companies to advance his business. The companies include Meridian Park Estate Limited; Horizon Estate Limited; and Foreshore Waters Limited.
On the fresh suit by the 22 subscribers, a senior member of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, who pleaded anonymity, lamented the impunity with which Lekki Gardens and the managing director had continued to carry out its business with total disregard for regulations and without securing approvals before commencing construction.
“Many of his developments in Lekki still lack approvals and believes he is above the law. I am therefore not surprised that he is converting children’s playground to shops since this is what he has also done in some of his estates and we are in constant battle with him,” the source said.
He noted that earlier in the year, the agents of LASBCA had sealed off the Horizon Premier-1 Estate for building plan contravention, after which the company broke the seal and resumed work without the agency’s permission.