Officers of the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LSPPPA) are now at Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road locking banks, hotels and other businesses premises and asking for approval permit without prior notice.
Business owners were shocked when they saw men dressed in LSPPPA Tee Shirts accompanied by armed police men invading their premises and ordering them out and locking up their gates. Even when the owners pleaded to be given time to bring the documents, they were threatened by the police men to leave their premises or have themselves to blame with guns being brandished recklessly.
The Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning who came with the officers refused to come down from is vehicle to address the worried crowd. Some of the victims who spoke with News Express lamented the high handedness of the Lagos State Government under the watch of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, especially in these trying times of COVID-19.
According to them, this clearly shows that Nigerians are not practising democracy and that the fight against non-indigenous businessmen in Lagos State is heating up again, adding that this cannot happen in a civilised setting. They said that it is not right for a government agency to invade business premises like a bunch of thugs and begin to seal up the offices without prior notice.
One of the victims, Raphael Adigun, said that he was sure that what the men came to do was illegal. According to him, “there is no way an agency of government can be operating like a bunch of touts.” He said that even the commissioner who came with them displayed arrogance by not coming out of his vehicle to address the agitated business men and their staff.
Adigun said: “I feel that they should be giving us respect because we are the ones paying their salaries. How can they come to seal our businesses premises without prior notice? If they had told us that they would be coming to inspect approval plans or building permits, or given us a notice to submit our plans, I would have gone to their office to submit mine and also have it here handy. Do they think that building permit is identity card that one would be carrying about?”
Also contributing, another victim, Michael Jones, said that government should try to be civil because the way they are operating, they are risking mob action. He said that the people are just doing dis-service to the good intentions of Governor Sanwo-Olu “who is carrying business owners along in everything that he is doing.”
“Imagine what they are doing. Ordering all the customers and workers in a bank out and locking the bank. Is this how an agency of government operates. This is illegal operation and aimed at destabilising and victimising non-indigenes in Lagos State because if you check all the buildings they locked up, they are all owned by non-indigenes. That the commissioner came with them has not made anything right. We don’t even know if the man is actually a commissioner because we don’t know the faces of the commissioners,” Jones said.