…Police arrest four thugs, recover marijuana in building

…Traditional ruler, chiefs, residents engage in verbal war

By Evelyn Usman

Dispute over land is now tearing Oworoshoki, a Lagos  community apart as chiefs and residents have engaged the traditional ruler of the community, Oba Idris Oluwatoyin inn a verbal war with accusations and counter accusations by both parties.

Mr. Akinola Oloruntoba, Oba of oworshoki and Chief Ajisegiri

Some land owners in the community have accused the traditional ruler of allegedly confiscating their lands and using thugs to terrorise them when they attempted to challenge his action. The Oba however denied this calling them liars

At a point in time, Oworoshoki became a theater of war , as cultists and thugs alleged to be hired by some members of the aggrieved parties held sway. They maimed, injured and killed members of rival cult groups as well as innocent persons , including a foreigner. But a recent raid in the area led to the arrest of some of the thugs, while others fled .

While some of the aggrieved parties accused the Oba of Oworoshoki   of hiring thugs to molest and assist in the alleged confiscation of their land, the traditional ruler described their claims as false, stating rather that his detractors hired the cultists to disturb the peace and tranquility in the area.

Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, one of the aggrieved persons, Mr Akinola Oloruntoba, trailed the genesis of his misunderstanding with Oba Oluwatoyin otherwise known as Oloworo , to his claim on some parcels of his land.

He also accused the traditional ruler of selling part of the land to a woman, an action that has generated tussle over ownership of the land between him and the woman. In his bid to lay claim on the parcels of land, he said that he was beaten up by thugs allegedly hired by the traditional ruler .

He told Saturday Vanguard that : “I bought ten and half acres of land in 1981 while I was in England. When I came back home in 1997, I started building this place . I packed in   by 2001. The acres of land in question cut across the road. The place then   was called Ifako Bariga Itelehin farm land but because the expressway road cut across it, this does not make it to be part of Oworoshoki .

“Oworo has its boundary from Ifako which was established by the Federal government. There is a buffer zone and a canal that separates Oworoshoki and Ifako. Why will anybody come now to create confusion by writing Oworo everywhere , all in a bid to confiscate people’s land?. The case in question has been taken to the Supreme court and the judgment was delivered in the   favour on Olabanjo whom I represent , in 1996 by late Justice Oputa .

“ I don’t have any problem with the Oba of Oworo , other than this. In most of the places I have taken him to, he kept saying that he was not claiming the land because of the Supreme Court judgment . But he brought a surveyor to the land in question and when I accosted the surveyor, he confirmed that Oloworo asked him to survey the place. I told him it was not possible and pointed the caveat on the fence to him.”

Attacked

He informed that he reported the case of encroachment on his land   to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC , consequent upon which both parties were invited. But Oloruntoba said : “I was shocked when Oloworo said that he did not know the land I was talking about.

When I challenged him to show the officials the documents with which he   built an office   close to where my land was , he could not even show them a shred of document.

Rather, he told them that he was the custodian of all the lands in Oworoshoki and that where my parcels of land extended to was Oworoshoki. He also claimed that the land in question was given to him by the Ministry of Justice.

“Two officials of the commission were asked to follow us to the land in question when he claimed he did not know the particular land I was talking about. But when we got there , the Oba did not show up. Instead, he sent his Personal Assistant and one of his chiefs.

When they got to this place I opened a large map to show them where the land was indicated on the map. As soon I opened it, his aides accused me of coming from Ondo state to acquire land in Lagos, as if I don’t   have a right to own a land in a state I pay my tax and have lived in for decades.

As soon as the EFCC officials left, hoodlums took over the area, chanting oba lo nile . Sensing danger , I and my lawyer had to leave hurriedly. On an occasion when I went to inspect the land, I was beaten to a stupor by these hoodlums”

Thereafter, he said he  wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Edgal Imohimi , who directed men of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCIID to look into the matter, during which four of the suspected hoodlums were reportedly arrested .

Rather than honour the invitation by   the SCIID, Oloruntoba alleged that the Oloworo took the petition to the Inspector General of Police X-Squad, at   Alagbon, Lagos , where the case was directed to be transferred there.

Demand

He therefore,   called on the state government and the   concerned security agencies to wade   into the matter and also to ensure that the office allegedly built by the Oloworo for his thugs should be brought down.

“About 15 thugs live in that building which they call an office. Recently four of them were arrested and taken to Panti from where they were transferred to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency , NDLEA following the discovery of drugs in the building.

“ On November 1, 2017 , these hoodlums caused mayhem there as they fired sporadically and attacked anyone at sight. A leader of a community is expected to maintain peace , settle dispute between his subjects.”

Just two weeks ago, the fence erected round my parcel of land   had been pulled down by a woman the traditional ruler sold part of it to.

All I demand is for the rule of law to prevail. How possible is it for you to take over a supreme court judgment land? If there is still rule of law in this country I don’t think that will be possible. In the western countries, when you see a Supreme court judgment, you will run away from the place but in Nigeria, someone will tell you that they know somebody, which ought not to be .”

Septuagenarian also complains

Another aggrieved person in the area was Alhaji Mustapha Durojaye Ajisegiri, a chief in his   70s who told Saturday Vanguard   that the mistake his fore fathers made , which consequences he was suffering from today, was   to have extended a hand of fellowship to strangers .

He analyzed the genealogy of the Oloworo to drive home his claim of being a bonafide indigene of Oworo. On his part, he accused the Oloworo of also laying claim to land he said they inherited from their fore-fathers.

He said : “I don’t understand what is happening, If one wants to be installed as a king, they usually called people who knew the history of the land. I am a bonafide Oworoshoki indigene. My parents were born here in Oworoshoki. I have lived here all my life for over seven decades.

“The problem I have with the Oloworo is that he is confiscating our land. We have dragged ourselves to court and to the police station. He claimed that I was parading myself as the Oba of Oworo whereas I have never had such intention.

I was the first person to register my car with Oworo 1 but the car was seized by the police, over allegation by the Oloworo that I was parading myself as the Oba. Investigation into the allegation lasted for three months but nothing incriminating was found against me.

He said he would give me the title of Balogun 1 to register as plate number. The case was taken to court but he never showed up and it was struck out. All we want is to be accorded relevance as bonafide Oworo indigenes” , he said.

Another chief, Baale Olubori Odunfa, alleged that he had been denied promotion to the next level   by the Oloworo . He said : “All I want is peace in the interest of Oworoski in particular and Lagos State in general . I can   not say much on the matter because it is in court.”

They are liars- Oba of Oworoshoki

However when Oba Bashir Oloruntoyin Saliu, the man at the centre of controversy was contacted , he described the allegations as mere fabrications to tarnish the name of the palace .

On the allegation of the arrest of some thugs used by the palace to intimidate his opponents, the traditional ruler said : “the boys were not my workers, they were  not our family members and were not from my office . I learnt that the Police arrested some hoodlums but we don’t know them neither do I know where they came from. If anybody from that office was arrested, our family lawyers would have been sent for.

As for Akinola , who purported to have a land in Oworoshoki, he does not have any land here and the judgment he is carrying about did not even mention anything on land in Oworoshoki or Ifako where he lives. It is another judgment from somewhere that he is parading, thinking everybody here will be fooled. That judgment is not from the Supreme court , neither are we a party in the suit.

“ We have gone to the   EFCC, Panti and another police station in Ikoyi and even the Department of Land Grabbers at the Ministry of Justice in Alausa . At the Land grabbers department in Alausa, all the parties who own the land in question where we built our office were seen. We have also gone to court where the case was dismissed on three different   occasions.

“Besides, the office in question was not newly built , it was our ancient mud house that was brought down by the storm . We only went there to renovate it because it had been a place of hideout for different types of people.

But by the grace of God, when you get there today, the place where criminals were hiding had been demolished by the Lagos State Task Force.

We don’t have any land business with Akinola. Himself and Willy B bought land from the land grabbers without the knowledge of the baale of Ifako.”

He described the relationship between him and his chiefs as cordial, adding however that those who ganged up against him were only doing it to their own detriment.

Police sources at the SCIID confirmed to Saturday Vanguard, the arrest of four suspects from Oworoshoki but kept mum on who their sponsor was. Police sources further hinted that under cover policemen had been drafted to Oworoshoki to arrest members of some cult group who fled during raids at the their hideout .

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Source: Vanguard News

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Land dispute tears Lagos community apart
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