Imota residents accuse Lagos officials of land grabbing
SOME residents of Imota area of Lagos on Wednesday accused top government officials of land racketeering in the Imota area of Ikorodu, Lagos State.
The aggrieved residents, in a petition sent to the Lagos State House of Assembly, alleged that government officials were being led by one Mr. Kayode Ogunubi, an Executive Secretary in the Land Buerau of the state.
The residents, through their lawyer, Gbenga Ojo & Co, alleged that the officials connived with a traditional ruler in Imota to sell a part of the 20 hectares of land excised to the Balogun branch of Refuwe family in Ikorodu by the state government.
Meanwhile, Ogunubi in a telephone interview has dismissed the allegation, explaining that the land in question was acquired by the state government to be distributed to allottees.
He noted that the aggrieved family was compensated like other families but, “probably because those who received the compensation on behalf of this particular family had issues with omo-oniles, they started fighting and trying to reclaim the land for which compensation had been paid.”
The Refuwe family said in the petition dated February 23, 2016, that “in 1980, Lagos State government acquired a large tract of land in Imota area. Some of the land acquired belonged to us but after a series of meetings and consultations, the state government through a letter dated January 21, 2008, released 20 hectares of the land to the family and government’s decision was further confirmed in the state gazette No 2 Vol. 41 of February 28, 2008.
“Subsequently, all manner of people came to the land claiming that they purchased various portions of it from the state government, through the Ministry of Lands and Environment. Some of them even presented copies of Certificates of Occupancy purportedly issued by government.
“Investigation revealed that there is a strong and powerful cartel in Lands Bureau that is behind all these atrocities. In a manner similar to acts of gangsterism, on February 17, 2016, a combined team of Governor’s Monitoring Team and Task Force with several armed mobile policemen invaded the land with the intention to intimidate us from asserting our ownership of the land,” the petition read in part.
The complainants, who attached various other documents to back their claim, want the House of Assembly to investigate the allegation and others, which had to do with compensating the family.
Ogunubi, however, said the traditional ruler of Imota had tried to intervene but they threatened to kill him. He added that the complainants had started attacking rightful occupants and allottees of the land, which made the Bureau to write the government for immediate action executed by the Task Force. However, no arrest was made.
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