Police brutalising, intimidating us to take our lands, Ilasa residents allege
Residents of Okomala Street and Fayemi Close in Ilasamaja area of Lagos State have accused the police of brutality and connivance with a company in the area to dispossess them of their lands. They alleged that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Oriyomi Titilayo, and operatives of the Lagos State task force on Environment had terrorised them despite a pending suit before an Ikeja High Court.
The residents, who said the police supervised the demolition of six buildings including those of Pastor John Onyekwere, Blessing Olasukanmi and Mrs. Rebecca Obamulire, in outright disregard to a court ruling that ordered status quo ante, added that landlords who protested the action were beaten and bundled into a Black Maria stationed there.
When The Guardian visited the neighbourhood yesterday, armed policemen from task force were seen providing protection for artisans constructing the fence, who moved to and fro the company.
Representatives of the family that sold lands to the landlords were also seen lamenting the injustice and illegal acts against the residents. According to Chief Adekunle Isiba, the family never sold any land to the company, accusing the police of aiding land grabbing.
He said: “This company claims that the military government in Lagos gave them these lands over 20 years ago. They have been lying and intimidating the people out family sold land to.
“We sold the lands to the landlords who built their structures on them. One of them has gotten his Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). The others have approvals from the Lagos State government. The landlords have their receipts, title documents, survey plan and other genuine documents.
One of the landlords, Blessing Olasukanmi, who said she bought her property two years ago, alleged that she was brutalised by policemen and sustained an arm injury. She said they had threatened to deal with her if she refused to sell or relinquish her rights to the land.
When The Guardian contacted the task force chairman, Olayinka Egbeyemi, he said he was not aware the parties were still in court, adding that the information he got was that the company had obtained judgment. Consequently, he ordered police officers to vacate the premises yesterday, directing that the parties should come with their documents to his office by 12noon today.
Oriyomi also denied any involvement in the tussle, insisting that she had been off the case since last year and had always advised parties to go to the Area Commander and the courts to seek redress. She denied informing the task force that the company got judgment in its favour, adding that she stayed off the case as she was asked to.
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