An infrastructure development firm, Master Realty International Concepts, has asked the Lagos State Government to retract a “libelous statement” it made against the firm within 48 hours or face court action.
The company, a subsidiary of CFL Group, equally denied any partnership with the state government on its plan to build Ikeja IT Mart, which it said, was designed to replicate Silicon Valley in Nigeria and a centre for information technology in Africa.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowose, had on Tuesday denied approving the construction of the mall at the newly built Ikeja Bus Terminal.
Mr. Anifowose was reacting to an alleged claim by Master Realty International Concept Ltd that it had received an approval to build the mall.
“The information is false, Lagos State government did not issue any permit to him because his plans are not in sync with the State Government’s regeneration plan so it is not possible for him to obtain approval from the appropriate authorities,” Mr. Anifowose had said.
But in a response to the state government, the company demanded an immediate retraction of Mr. Anifowose’s “offensive statement to the press” and the re-erection of the firm’s fence “unlawfully and maliciously demolished” at Simbiat Abiola Road, Ikeja.
“If you fail, refuse or neglect to comply with the above demands, we shall be constrained with no other option but to take appropriate legal actions against you, your office and the state government,” read the letter signed by Lukman Imam, the company’s counsel.
“Master Realty has never presented, claimed or made any representation that it is in partnership with any tier of government for its project on the land situated at Simbiat Abiola Road, Ikeja. The project is a private driven initiative.
“We categorically assert that there is nowhere (written or unwritten, directly or indirectly) where our client claimed that there is an approval or plan for the project. We restate that your statement is a calculated attempt to misled the public and project our client in bad light.”
Mr. Imam described as “shocking and disheartening” the government’s reference to his client as a fraudster.
“It is astonishing and unthinkable that a reputable conglomerate that has paid well over N11 million in respect of its various projects particularly Alade Market, Ikeja can be offhandedly referred to as a fraudster,” the letter stated.
“Your libellous reference to our client as a fraudster has adversely affected its enviable reputation, good standing and meritorious rating in the business community particularly among its partners, foreign associates, bankers, investors and subscribers.”
The Lagos State government in 2010 awarded a N6.9 billion contract to Master Realty International Concepts Ltd for the redevelopment of Alade market in Ikeja into a mega-shopping mall under a 30-year concession on a Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) basis.
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