Imedu Community under Ibeju/Lekki Local Government of Lagos State woke up one morning and discovered that their farmland measuring about 1800 acres have been overrun by land grabbers. The leaders of the community are now pleading with the state government to ensure that justice is done to ensure return of peace and security to their land. CYRIACUS NNAJI reports.
Land grabbers led by Dele Ayeni besieged Imedu Community and seized their farm land with armed thugs shooting people and destroying properties with claim of ownership of Imedu land.
However, the baales, community and youth leaders of the town through the effort of the Nigeria Police countered the impunity and got the land grabbers arrested.
Hence penultimate Monday, leaders of Imedu took the police and government authorities round their farmland previously seized from them three months ago to show them the area and extent of damage done to their land.
Speaking to The AUTHORITY, Alhaji (Chief) Adekunle, head of Ogundeyi Family land, said “It surprised my life, my people have been here since the 6th century and our forefather, Chief Osedekan had 6 families; they are the Adenuga family, Adenusi family, Olusanya family, Sogundeyi, Lasisi, Olumade family. They are the owners of Imedu land. We have not heard of Ayeni family. Each of the families has a family head, and for somebody to come from nowhere with thugs, shooting and injuring people to say our land belongs to him is a big surprise. In our family nobody bears Ayeni, this land grabber.”
Adekunle described the land grabber as an Ajagungbale, thug of the land, adding that the man came from Ilaje in Ondo State and Edo, while the forefathers of Imedu came from Epe in about 5-to 6 century.
Now, Dele Ayeni has been arrested and he is telling the police how he became the owner of Imedu land.
An eyewitness to his arrest, Alfa ligali, a Youth leader in the community, said “Some people invaded our town, with guns and cutlasses, armed thugs; they came with a signpost that the land belongs to them, their leaders are Dele Ayeni, Kunle Komolafe, and others but these are their leaders.”
“They were arrested by men of SARS. We raised a petition to the commissioner of police and the police commenced investigation and successfully arrested him on Thursday, 26 February, 2018.
On the size of the land, Ligali said, “We are talking about 1800 acres of land involved. The man Ayeni disguised to unsuspecting public to belonging to Imedu community and defraud them. Many people have reported to have made purchases of land from him, but the community would direct them back,” Ligali said.
On how he was arrested the youth leader said, “He was arrested in his house at the border between Epe and Ijebu Ode; he was changing locations and he operated with fake addresses. For months the police have been looking for him, until the police was able to track him down. He was seen in a room with another man stack naked. So the police is also interested in that act.
The land grabbers were arraigned in court on March 6 where they pleaded not guilty, while they were the case was adjourned till May 30 and the accused remanded in prison.
Abiodun James a member of the community who witnessed the siege on Imedu land said “This man is Ajagungbale; one day we were doing work for somebody on the land, suddenly we saw about 10 jeeps, 6 cars, 1 pickup, they came down and began to shoot sporadically.
Chief Tunde Ade Dosunmu, the Baale of Asagun was as surprised as other members of the community “I am surprised because I learnt the man mentioned that he is a baale of Asegun, so he was impersonating me. Ayeni is an Ajagungbale, he is a rogue. I want him to say it in my presence that he is the baale of Asagun. I also want him to sign an undertaking because this man is after my life. Those that buy land should come up with their papers and show evidence of the baale or kabiyesi, because the Governor said before you buy land, a baale or kabiesi would sign.
The Baale of Oku Imedu, the overall bale of Imedu, Chief Mudashiru Sadiq, said “That boy, Ayeni, does not have anything here, this is what he has been doing in this area. And something happened in our land about last year, they kidnapped people and kill people here. He removed signboards put here by surveyor, and spoil everything, structures that were raised here. He does not have any business here.
“We come here today to show the police what the Ajagungbale did on our land.