By Joseph Jibueze and Folakemi Olaoni
The Itusi Royal Family in Ogun State has urged Governor Dapo Abiodun and the Inspector-General of Police Usman Alkali to save it from land grabbers.
It alleged that another family was after its ancestral land in Baba Ode/Onibuku community in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area.
It also urged the Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun and the divisional police officer of the Onipanu Police Division, Ota, Bamidele Job, to come to the family’s rescue.
The royal family said members now live in fear following threats by suspected land grabbers and thugs working for those laying claim to the land.
Head of the family, Chief Taofeek Oduasanyin and residents of Baba Ode community, at a briefing, lamented the shooting of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and an Inspector by the land grabbers.
They said the injured policemen, ASP Tajudeen Adeleke and Inspector Babatunde Olayiwola, were part of a team mobilised by Job in response to a distress call following an attack by the land grabbers.
Oduasanyin said: “We appeal to law enforcement agencies to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter to unravel those behind the unfortunate incident. We have suffered untold hardship from these elements who claim to own the land. They use brute force, intimidation and guns to dislodge us from Baba Ode. On April 16, a particular family group signed an undertaking at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, to discontinue their claim of ownership of the land, and to discontinue their incessant attacks on our family members. But they reneged on that agreement, only to resume the deadly assaults immediately after we came back from Abuja.”
Oduasanyin said the family wrote fresh petitions to Zone 2 Police Command, Lagos and to Eleweran Police Command, Abeokuta.
He said the police headquarters in Abuja sent the case file to the Force CID in Alagbon when the attacks persisted.
Oduasanyin said: “Who are these suspects paraded by the police at Abeokuta? Who among them returned the guns forcefully taken from the police patrol team? How long will they have to wait to get justice against these marauders and who will help in enforcing the various court judgments got so far on the land?”
The residents said the thugs, known as Owo Eye Boys, armed with cutlasses and guns, had been harassing both land buyers and landlords in Itusi Baba Ode, threatening their lives.
One of the residents, Mrs Adijat Popoola, said she bought a piece of land from the Itusi Royal Family and built on it.
She said she has not known peace since she moved in as her shop was looted and destroyed on four occasions.
“The thugs are always causing trouble. My son’s life was endangered,” she said.
Another victim, Taiwo Oyedele, said he bought a plot of land in 2012, but was shocked to realise last year that the land had been sold in halves to different people despite building on it.
He said his life was threatened while he was denied access to his property.
Another victim, Akeem Fadairo, said his paint factory on the land was looted by the thugs, with properties worth N10million destroyed.
The Itusi Royal Family lawyer, Chief Adekunle Funmilayo, said police authorities had been informed, yet the hoodlums had not stopped threatening landowners and reselling their properties.
“We have all the documents to prove the ownership of this family land,” he said.
But, the Adelupo Family, which also lays claim to the land, denied sponsoring the attacks.
Its lawyer, Adeoye Abraham, told The Nation: “I’ve just heard about the attacks from you. No such allegation has been brought to our attention; we would have demanded an investigation.
“Also, if they contacted you, they ought to have told you that there is a judgment in respect of the land. The court has decided and they should allow the decision of the court to abide.
“The allegation of land grabbing is malicious. There is a judgment in my client’s favour that they must never enter the land. I can give you a copy.”
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