While it can be said that Lagos state residents are sitting pretty, free from onslaught of insurgents and the latest nightmare – the Fulani cattle herdsmen, a different face of unprovoked aggression is terrorising the Okun Mopo Community along the Lekki-Epe Expressway in Lagos.
A report reaching our features desk said only last week, large expanse of land and property designated as estates belonging to old families at Sangotedo Monastery in the community have been overrun by bulldozers, pulling down buildings, infrastructures and other facilities on the orders of some estate developers called ‘land grabbers’.
Heads of the affected families are now crying to the Lagos State Government, the Federal Government and the entire people of Nigeria concerning their land being forcefully taken from them.
A family source told our correspondent that the land in question belongs to the Isiaka, Oladehinde and Balogun families, all traditional rulers at the Okun-Mopo community and environs. “All the people were told was that the land is to be allocated by Lagos State Government to one Ajayi Apata Property Ltd, without neither consultation nor any form of compensation to the indigenous owners of the land,” the source said.
The estate agents – CMB Estate and Diamond Estate – invaded the community with caterpillars and bulldozers, demolishing people’s homes and structures on the land.
A resident who spoke to The Daily Times in confidence lamented that the demolition took them unawares. “I woke up that morning hesitating from where I would start off my day when noise of the invading machines filled our area. People were running out of their houses and shouting for help and I had to run too. We had no time to take anything and we watched as bulldozers and caterpillars destroyed our homes and properties.”
Accounts from residents of Okun Mopo Community corroborated the story of pains and anguish over losses of homes and household utensils because of
the illegal demolition.
Residents say heavily armed thugs
with arms and amulets were positioned on the land,
with the aid of fully armed policemen and people
can no longer move freely in what used to be their neighbourhood.
A spokesman for the estate agent who refused to give his name claimed that the Okun-Mopo Community land has been sold to them and
that the two estate administrators are now ready to take possession. He denied that the residents were not given any notice before the invasion.
Meanwhile, a legal firm representing the aggrieved families and the community, Messrs Bolanle Olugbani & Co, Barristers and Solicitors of Igbosere Road, Lagos Island has written an SOS addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari. The letter dated 26th April, 2016 and titled ‘The forceful and illegal taking over, eviction and demolition of properties of over 500,000 Nigerians at Okun-Mopo and the complicity of the A.I.G Zone 2, Lagos’ read in part:
“We are compelled to write your Excellency this open letter to bring to your attention the pain and suffering of the people and residents of Okun- Mopo as well as the activities of the men of the Nigeria Police force, zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, Lagos
The Baale of Okun Mopo is the claimant in suit No. /LD 135/2013 pending before the high court of Lagos state.
The Defendants in the said suit are the Attorney- General of Lagos state, the New Towns Development authority and Ajayi Apata Property and Investment Company.
On the 12th of April 2016, the Baale of Okun Mopo, an 83-year-old man was invited to the Zone 2, Command, Onikan, Lagos based on a false petition of threat to life written by one CMB Estates who bought the land in dispute (subject matter of the above–mentioned suit) from Ajayi Apata Property and the Investment Company.
The Baale of Okun Mopo had earlier obtained an order of Interlocutory Injunction against the three (3) defendants in the above mentioned suit.
The injunction restrained the three defendants and their privies from interfering with the peaceful possession of our clients’ land. CMB Estates is a privy to Ajayi Apata and Investment Company and is also bound by the same order.
To our greatest shock , the Zone 2 Police Command led by A.I.G Bala Hassan gave armed police protection to CMB Estates who went on a demolition spree of our clients’ properties at Okun Mopo with 3 caterpillars.
In order to prevent such occurrence in their community, the Okun-Mopo people are calling on the government to stop the activities of land grabbers in their community and in Lagos state.
Efforts made by our correspondent to get the police side of the story at Zone 2, Police Command, Onikan was stoutly resisted as no officer was ready to entertain any inquiry on the matter.