Twenty-three traditional and senior chiefs in Ona-Ara Local Government Area of Oyo State have petitioned Gov. Seyi Makinde and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, over alleged unlawful arrests and threat to their lives.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that one of the senior chiefs, Dotun Sanusi, made the petition available to newsmen on Thursday in Ibadan on behalf of all the affected chiefs.
NAN also reports that the petition was entitled: “Threat to life, unlawful arrest, intimidation and illegal acquisition of 95 acres of land at Akintola village, Akanran, Ona-Ara Local Government of Oyo State.”
The petitioners complained of unlawful arrests, harassment, intimidation and threats to the lives of Akanran residents by a suspected land grabber, allegedly aided by officers from the office of a Deputy Inspector General of Police in Abuja.
Copies of the petition were submitted to the state Chief Judge, Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone XI, Commissioner of Police, Oyo State, Director, Department of State Security, Oyo State and Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council.
The petitioners appealed to the governor, the inspector-general of police and others to use their good offices to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.
The petitioners described the ongoing invitations being extended to residents of the council area over the alleged influence of an Ibeju-Lekki-based chief as provocative.
“After a crucial meeting held on Wednesday, we write to inform your office about threat to life, unlawful arrest, intimidation, harassment and illegal acquisition of 95 acres of land at Akintola village, Akanran,” they said.
The petitioners claimed that the alleged nefarious activities were being perpetrated by the chief, whom they described as the chief promoter of an estate agency.
They alleged that the estate promoter was perpetrating the act allegedly in connivance with an officer from the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID), Area 10, Abuja.
The petitioners said that the disputed land had been resolved by an Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, in a suit number: I/443/2014.
They recalled that Justice G.A. Sunmonu had, on March 19, 2020, delivered a judgment in favour of one Alhaji Rasheed Eniayenfe Ojo and Good Foundation Social Club, who, they said, were the defendants in the case.
“The claimants in the case are: Alhaji Gbolagade Obisesan, Mr Babatunde Babajide, Latifu Ejibiyi Akintola, Isiaka Ejibiyi Akintola, Musa Ejibiyi Akintola, Bilikisu Sangodairo Akintola, and Afusat Sangodiran Akintola,’ they said.
The petitioners said that the claimants, with the assistance of the Ibeju-Lekki-based chief, in disregard to the court judgement, mobilised their men and other suspected land grabbers to the hitherto disputed land to dislodge the legal owners/occupants.
“The claimants in the case did not appeal the judgement of the high court till date.
“They knew that the evidence before the court will always vindicate the legal owners/occupants of the land. Therefore, they have resorted to self-help, which necessitated this petition,” they said.
The petitioners said that during the alleged unlawful invasion, the occupants of the land were harassed, extorted and dehumanised, while the Baale of Akanran, Chief Yekini Obisesan, was forced to flee his domain.
They said that the occupants of the land alleged threat to their lives, adding one of the victims of the activities of the land grabbers was Alhaji Rasheed Eniayenfe.
The petitioners said that Eniayenfe was arrested at Akanran and later moved to the FCIID, Area 10, Abuja, via the Divisional Police Headquarters, Orita-Challenge in Ibadan.
They said that the arrest was effected without recourse to the police command in the state.
“One of the leaders of the communities, Chief Dotun Sanusi was also put on arrest radar of the said police department, Area 10, Abuja on April 27 at 11:00 a.m.
“He has been invited for interview over cooked threat to life, assault, criminal conspiracy and trespass.
“He is to appear before the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, FCCIID, through the office of DCP (Gender), FCIID, Area 10, Abuja,” they said.
According to them, Sanusi, Chairman of the popular Ilaji Hotel and Resort, Akanran, doesn’t have anything to do with the disputed land, adding he was roped so that he won’t be able to intervene in the matter.
The petitioners said the development, especially the alleged unlawful arrest, intimidation and harassment, had forced the people of Akanran to leave the community in droves.
“The land grabbers have also threatened that they would grab 250 acres of land for their estate in Akanran,” they said.
“The baales and elders have been prevailing on our people not to take laws into their hands, hence the decision to notify your office about this ugly situation in our community, for your prompt action.
‘We, therefore, appeal to you to use your good office to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book,’ they said.
NAN reports that the petitioners include: Yekini Obisesan (Baale Akanran); Baale Jimoh Aderemi (Baale Bioku-Gbogun); Baale David Ibikunle (Baale Oke-Ogun) and Baale Moses Taiwo (Baale Ojoku).
Also among them are: Baale Suara Ogunyemi (Baale Akita Araowu); Baale Alawaye Toheeb Oyebode (Baale Alawaye) and several others. (NAN)