The state liaison buildings in Lagos were done by the respective state governments to ensure free flow of correspondence and communication between the respective state capitals and the liaison offices in Lagos, being the hub of commercial activities in the country and the nation’s former federal capital. Once a capital city, Lagos is populated by people from all over the federation.The liaison buildings/offices were also meant to take care of the interests of the indigenes of the respective states who live in Lagos and its environs.However, our correspondents gathered that many state governments have now abandoned their state liaison buildings in Lagos, preferring to pay attention to the liaison buildings/offices in Abuja only having moved the capital away from Lagos. This neglect has left the Lagos liaison buildings, mostly located in the highbrow area of Victoria Island in disrepair and an easy access for squatters and miscreants to occupy.Mostly affected are the liaison buildings of Zamfara, Benue, Kebbi, Imo, Edo and Cross River states. Visits to the buildings showed that most of the structures are dilapidated. Zamfara liaison building is worst as our correspondents observed that some parts of the building have even been pulled down.Some of the squatters in the Zamfara liaison building on Adeola Odeku street, Victoria Island said that they live in the building because of its proximity to their places of work.The occupants, who are low income earners such as drivers and cleaners of some companies in Victoria Island said they could not have ordinarily afforded accommodation in that location, if not for the availability of some abandoned properties like the state liaison buildings.A squatter, Biodun Tomori who lives in the compound of Benue House on Bishop Oluwole Street also in Victoria Island is a driver attached to a branch of First Bank Plc on the island.He told Daily Trust that his family lives in Ikotun where he has a room apartment, “but transport fare forced me to look for an abandoned accommodation nearby”.Tomori said he pays a certain amount of money to some people he refused to disclose to be able to live in the Benue House. “Some people pay per week to sleep in the building,” he disclosed.
However, the Benue State government still occupies a small room apartment with about three staff to get correspondence to the state government in the Benue House.One of the staff who spoke to us under the condition of anonymity because the staff were not authorised to talk to the press disclosed that the staff were annoyed with the state government for owing them salaries “for many months now”.“The state government is also marginalising those of us in the liaison office in Lagos by depriving us of certain welfare packages,” the staff added.Our correspondents’ investigations revealed that some of the state liaison buildings have had part of their apartments converted for business activities such as hotel and office spaces for rent seekers to occupy.Some state governments such as Benue, our correspondents learnt, have even made attempts to sell off the state liaison buildings outright, through property management companies.Problem predates present Benue govtWhen contacted, the Benue State government said that the problem associated with its liaison office in Lagos predates the current administration of Governor Gabriel Suswam.Director of Media and Public Affairs James Uloko said that the property was leased out to one Moses Ayom to manage long before Suswam became governor.He denied plans by government to sell the property but rather admitted that it is making effort to renovate the building as soon as that of Abuja which is ongoing reaches completion.
Kebbi govt dodges Kebbi State government dodged questions on the state of its liaison house in Lagos. Permanent Secretary Special Duties Alhaji Musa Muhammad Kamba referred our correspondent to the Permanent Secretary Protocol Sani Abdullahi who in turn said the office is not under him. He referred our correspondent to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Garba Rabiu.Several attempts to see the SSG to react to the issue proved abortive. He was said not to be in office each time our correspondent visited. He did not also respond to several calls and text message sent to his phone number.
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