Law News

Lagos Judge makes Case against ‘Face-me-i-face-you’, calls for Improvements to City’s Social Housing

Tenement buildings are common in Lagos State, however, the negative outcomes should trigger a housing reform by the Government

Honourble Justice Raliatu Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court has faulted the high potential for conflicts presented in the living arrangement found in tenement buildings popularly known as Face-me i-face-you.

Justice Adebiyi said this while delivering judgement in a murder case.

Her lorship remarked that a lot of cases in courts were caused by animosity and violence due to individuals living in close proximity in Lagos.

She said that the situation called for improvement in social housing in Lagos State.

“From the evidence, the fight took place in a room; though no evidence was given about the size of the room, it could not have been a very large room.

“The evidence was that the deceased and the defendant lived in a house consisting of rooms occupied by families popularly called ‘face-me-I-face-you’. It is worrisome that the level of violence, unnecessary animosity and death, which occur among our citizens as a result of living together in close proximity without sufficient personal space and boundaries, remain unabated.

“There is clearly a need to improve social housing and living conditions. The court hopes that this message will be conveyed to the necessary authorities through prosecutors who have the responsibility to prosecute these cases and should be able to provide vital statistics,” she urged.

The defendant, Stella Gilbert, was convicted of killing her neighbour during a fight over a bench. She was sentenced to death.

According to reports, the bench was owned by a another tenant who had moved out of their residence.

Features of tenement building…the need for reform

•The rooms are built facing each other in two rows, one to the left the other to the right
•The number of rooms on the left hand side equals the number of rooms on the right.
•Average of 8-12 rooms per house
•Common kitchen for all tenants, in some cases you find two.
•Common toilet/bathroom for all tenants, in some cases, two.
•Many families occupy the building
•Each family or tenant occupies one room or two
•Tens of children from different families in the compound
•Tenants share common area for recreation and other.needs
•There is little or no privacy
•Backbiting, fighting are almost routine.

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