Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Ijegun Community Seeks Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s Assistance Over Land Grabbing

Com. Buna Leading The Affected Residents In A Protest At Governor’s Office, Alausa, Ikeja, On Monday

Ijegun Community Seeks Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s Assistance Over Land Grabbing

Landlords and residents of Ijegun/Ijedodo and Ijagemo in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, have staged a peaceful protest at the Governor’s Office, Alausa, Ikeja over attempts by the State Government to demolish their houses and seize their lands which they claim to have legally acquired and habited for decades.

Led by the Executive Director, Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA), Comrade Buna Olitan Isiak and leaders of the various Community Development Associations (CDAs), they claimed that they have been in undisputed possession of the said lands for more than 50 years, with over 3,872 families settled in the community.

The protesters were armed with placards with different inscriptions such as; ‘Corruption Must Stop: Stop Encouraging Omonile to Sell Land With Master Plan’, ‘They Are Selling Land Meant For Road On the Master Plan’, We Are Not Under Government of Aquisation’ among others.

In two separate petitions submitted to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, they accused some individuals of using their closeness to the corridors of power in the State to terrorise law abiding landlords and residents of Ijegun-Ijedodo-Ijagemo axis with threats to demolish their houses and confiscate their lands on false pretense that the State Government is abandoning the original Master Plan which certified their property as legally acquired and out of the Right Of Way (ROW).

According to them, some highly placed individuals have acquired lands and properties on the designated Right of Way but “are now seeking to upturn and divert the original master plan in order to save their own skin and make innocent law-abiding citizens pay for their own brazen effrontery at law-breaking. 

They alleged that some staff of the Lagos State Government in connivance with the traditional ruler of Ijegun, the new Oba of Ibaland have vowed to unleash mayhem as strategy to evict the rightful owners of those places from their abode. 

They stated that on July 28, 2021, a group of miscreants and land-grabbers (popularly called Omo-Oniles) came to mark the houses for demolition, while a few days after, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development with Land Bureau officials and supported by a team of armed men terrorized the entire vicinity for three days, forcefully entering people’s homes, taking snap shot of properties as marked for demolition.

They stated that due to the constant harassment and infliction of physical pains and violence with attendant psychological and physiological consequences, about six landlords in the area have died of causes related to heart attacks while four are currently battling with stroke. 

“It remains to us a puzzle while those who have done their due diligence before acquiring lands certified by government as free of all official encumbrances should be made to suffer this spate of sustained violence, while the real culprits who built on the right of way of the original Master Plan hide behind these facade and live seemingly in peace. The irony of the entire plot is that the original Master Plan meant for the road infrastructure is still selling as we speak”. 

“This is injustice laden with impunity and we believe that Lagos State cannot, and will not descend into a jungle where some devour the rights of others by sheer reason of might under your watch”. 

“To be clear, the Ijegun/Ijedodo Affected Landlords Committee at whose Instance this petition is written did not only purchase their properties legally as distinct from the other area designated as right of way for the road project as obtained in the original Master Plan of 1972 (and as seen and described in the original layout with the Ministry of Lands and the Office of the Surveyor General of Lagos State), their right of legal acquisition of those lands was also recognised in the adapted version of the original Master Plan by Alimosho Local Government under the Alimosho Mega City Plan 2010-2020”. 

“This goes to show and is also a proof that the area in question which lies and situate at the right hand side of NNPC pipeline and connects five junctions of Ijegun through Ijedodo to Abule Ado with about 800 houses including 11 places of worship neither encroaches on Government Acquisition, nor violates the Master Plan. It neither contravenes the Right of Way nor is it built under any high tension transmission lines. It is neither under any NNPC corridor nor built on any drainage system to warrant demolition, and the people have livedin that place for over 40 years”, the petitioners stated.

The concerned landlords stated that there was also a visitation by members of the Lagos State House of Assembly which promised to make the report of its finding public but which has not done till date. 

They stated that shortly after the residents instituted a court process the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to hurriedly organised  a stakeholders’ meeting to resolve the matter. 

However, five days to the stakeholders meeting, the same Ministry served a notice of removal a newspaper advertorial titled ‘Removal of Structure within the Right of Way of jedodo Road in Alimosho Local Government Area’ on the residents of the area.

As the matter Intensifies and with the injunction of the Lagos State High Court Ikeja restraining the plot to demolish those houses (Suit No: 1D/7471GCMW/2020), there have been spurious reasons adduced by some lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly that the reason for the diversion from the original plan was to save cost for the government. 

The protesters who expressed confidence that as a fair-minded, justice-driven and upright father of all, the Governor will rise to the occasion to unmask the plotters who are making the lives of innocent and lawabiding citizens miserable for no just cause. 

Addressing the protesters, a member of the House Committee on Phiscal Planing, Honourable Kehinde Johnson commended members of the community for the mature way they handled the issue.

He urged them not to take laws into their hands, but to continue to give peace a chance assuring that the government will dispassionately look into the matter and ensure that justice was served.