Ibadan Atere-Isokan Estate Community Decries ‘Illegal’ Demolition by Alleged Land-Grabbing Syndicate

The unpleasant development of land grabbing in Atere-Isokan Estate Odo-Ona Elewe Ibadan, in Oluyole Local Council of Oyo State has put the residents on edge. The once-upon-a-peaceful area, where inhabitants live in comfort, has been shattered, giving way to alleged human rights abuses, injustices, intimidation and harassment. 

SPYE TV NEWS CORRESPONDENT, who visited the communities during a hit drama of demolition saw a picture of the despair, anger and disappointment on the faces of residents who are victims of the land grabbers' alleged high-handedness. It was alleged that the land grabbers who were referred to as Ajagungbale used the police to intimidate and arrest members of the communities at the slightest provocation.

Chairman Isokan Estate, Odo-Ona Elewe, Ibadan, Mr. Abdulrahman Oladejo said, "It started in May 11th 2023 when they came with a court judgement purported to have been passed since 1991. They have been coming to terrorise us but last week Thursday, they came early in the morning with heavily harmed policemen to arrest landlords and thereafter came with three bulldozers to demolish our houses. We have applied for stay of execution or review of the purported judgement and the case is still in court. They are yet to give date for the hearing.

"We want the government to stop them from coming to demolishing our properties and terrorizing us pending the determination of the suit pending in court."

“I am appealing to Governor Makinde and well-meaning individuals to save us from the propertied grabbers and help us to recover our houses. We are the original owners of these houses. We are also appealing to President Bola Tinubu to intervene so that we can recover our houses from the grip of the ajagungbale.

The Alleged Omo Onile and their Lawyer

One of the landlords who spoke anonymously said the demolition took place on Friday, September 22, 2023, and according to him, they invaded the community and forcefully took away many landlords after which hoodlums and land grabbers arrived with bulldozers to demolish buildings in the area.

“However, what happened on Friday, September 22 2023 was the most nauseating and catastrophic as Police entered houses to forcefully arrest the Landlords without a warrant but only with an order from the Officer in Charge of Legal, Ms Funke Fawole at the State Criminal Investigative Division, Iyaganku, Ibadan.

Video of fully armed policemen who came to arrest landlords before demolition. 

“After the police left with arrested landlords, the land grabbers came with hoodlums and bulldozers to demolish many buildings in the said community. They also threatened to unleash harm on occupants when they come back,” an eyewitness narrated.

Another Landlord alleged that he bought his land 20 years ago, fully paid for and has been living in the community with his family until land grabbers started disturbing us. We as a community had been to court over this issue with the self-acclaimed land grabbers.

This is an act of terrorism. We even lost an elderly woman as a result of the shock she received immediately after she sighted the armed policemen

Another Landlord, Mr Adewale Ojo, "I'm not only saddened by the fact that the self acclaimed land owners invaded my community without the residents prior knowledge of any court case on their lands, but more dismayed by the support offered by the Nigerian Police from Iyaganku , Ibadan. The timely response from the Oyo State Task Force on land grabbing on the 21st September during one of the land grabbers demolition missions in the community brought a temporal relief. 

"The force arrested the land grabbers on the fact that it is unlawful for land claimants to carry out demolition themselves. Alas! our relief was crushed the next day with the news that the key suspected land grabber (ringleader)escaped from Agodi prison before daybreak."

Speaking with the Legal and prosecution section of the Oyo State Police Command, CSP Funke Fawole said, "A writ of possession was issued by the Litigation & Enforcement Unit of the Oyo State Judiciary, requested for Police Protection in executing of a Judgement and same was sent to the Commissioner of Police Oyo State at the Police HQRTS Eleyele Ibadan. The CP forwarded the same to me with a directive to verify it and advise on the same.

"This directive was carried out by writing to the Court for verification and confirmation, we also requested for the Dispute survey plan tendered in the Court to be sure of the expanse of Land the Judgment covered. The Judiciary replied confirming the Writ of possession. The Oyo State Surveyor General office went to the expanse of Land to identify the coordinates and the boundaries. It was after all this that We advised the Command to deploy men to follow the Sherifs to execute it.

"However, the Claimant subsequently wrote a Petition to the Cp on alleged Contempt of Court and other offences alleged. That I'll furnish to you in due course. We did an intelligence-led investigation, recorded the Statements of the Nominal Complainant and witnesses went to serve invitations letters to the people concerned but they refused to collect the letters. While planning the way to approach the matter, the same people attacked the claimants and the matter was reported at the Ori-ta Police Divisional Headquarters Challenge. In line with the Police procedure the ACP CID with the directive of the DCP CID ordered that the matter be transferred to SCID for further in-depth investigation." she affirmed 

SpyeTV report that the residents has, therefore, cried out to the Oyo State Police Command, the Inspector General of Police, well meaning Nigerians and the general public to come to their aid, "alleging further that the said “O’C Legal Funke Fawole has threatened that nobody, not even the President or Inspector General of Police could save us from her hand.”

The community said that the fracas of last Friday also claimed the life of a female resident, and solicited for the help of the authorities to stem the dangerous tide.

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