By Uju Mbanusi
Bashorun Olainukan, a 36-year-old bricklayer had always dreamt of one day owning one of the leading block industries in Lagos State. But it will appear that the envisaged day will not come any time soon as the self-acclaimed expert brick maker is presently in a battle for his life and he has in fact cried out to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to come to his aid.
Narrating the genesis of his problem during a visit to Vanguard Media office, the Ikorodu-born bricklayer said he leased a one acre of land from one Alhaji Adegbetan in 2002. According to him, the said property was originally owned by the Agunsanya Family who leased it to the Alhaji Adegbetan to build on pending when they are buoyant enough to make use of it. He said he was fully briefed of this before he borrowed the sum of N450,000 from a cooperative union to pay for the leasing of part of the property. The contract was witnessed by one Ogunlaja Esq, a lawyer, who according to Bashorun, signed the deal on his behalf.
“Not long after I settled in to work, one of the sons of Pa Ogunsonya (who leased the land to me) by name Jide asked me to vacate the land. He employed different means to threaten me, including inviting hoodlums to beat me up on different occasions. At the initial stage, I told him that there was no way I could leave the land, not after borrowing so much money from the cooperative to lease and clean it up. I told him the only way to make me leave the property was when the Adesanya family refund the money I paid for leasing the land.
“When he was alive, Alhaji Adegbite who was also aware of the leasing contract terms, asked Jide to let me be, that I was a bona fide occupant of the land, but Jide would have none of that. Instead he brought in one Kamilo, a native doctor, to live in the uncompleted building, and to destroy my blocks when ever I was not around. I made several reports at the Police Station at Epe but they are yet to call Jide or Kamilo to order.
“In January 2013, Jide and his gang of hoodlums struck again; this time they came to my block industry, beat me up and set my Honda car and Mazda truck which I used to convey blocks to my customers ablaze. Again I reported the incident to Epe Police Station. The Baale was arrested because the perpetrators told the Police that they were sent by the community to destroy my properties, and since the Baale represents the community, he was arrested, but was later released,” Bashorun narrated at length.
He told Vanguard Metro, VM, that he decided to relocate the block industry to his home town Ikorodu, when the threats became unbearable, and after he had suffered so much losses. But the trouble did not stop at that as he alleged he had been living in fear as some people whom he suspects to have vested interest in the land were after his life.
“Since January 2013, after I relocated from Epe to Ikorodu, I have not slept in my father’s house for one night. I have been living in different hotels out of fear that I might be killed. I have not been able to take good care of my children. As I speak with you, they are scattered among my relations. Is it not when I am stable that I can take good care of them?
I want the Epe DPO to return the case file currently in his possession to the Area Command, so that the case can be charged to court”. When contacted on phone, counsel to Bashorun, identified as Oduwole Esquire, told our reporter that he was fully aware of the case and prays his client gets justice at the end of the day. “ The matter was brought to our chambers two months ago, the involvement of the press is very much welcomed because my client had suffered so much in the hands of these perpetrators who constitute a threat to his life.
We are charging them concerning the land issue, public assault, damage of properties, and threat to life. So far, the IPO have been cooperative, the Commissioner of Police and AIG have also been supportive. Only the Epe Police appear uncooperative,” he said.
When contacted, the state PPRO, Ngozi Braide, promised to make enquiries on the matter and get back to VM.