By Daud Olatunji
Emotion ran high penultimate Tuesday when scores of villagers of Oke-Ore in Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of Ogun State committed the remains of a-19-year-old Bidemi Akinde to mother earth in the presence of his both younger and elder family members.
Tears rolled down the cheeks of the villagers as the body of Bidemi who was allegedly killed while some suspected land grabbers attempted to forcefully execute a purported court judgement was being lowered into the grave.
Vanguard Metro, VM, gathered that the suspected land grabbers had stormed the rustic community with weapons, ostensibly to enforce a court judgment over a controversial land.
Detachment of soldiers
But a detachment of soldiers stormed the area and arrested the suspected leader of the group, identified as Mutairu Owoeye. He was handed over to the police.
It was further gathered that, a relation of the boy, who is a captain in the Army, was contacted and his arrival paid off as Owoeye was arrested.
Mr Akinde, the father of the late Bidemi, has cried out to the Ogun State and Federal governments to bring the culprits to book.
Akinde, 34, said though his son was gone for ever, he is calling on government to check the activities of land grabbers and speculators in order to forestall senseless loss of lives in the state.
Bidemi was the second child of Akinde’s five children.
The bereaved father who spoke before the burial took place, said: “I was the one that woke him up on that Wednesday morning. And immediately he went to take his bath. After that he headed to the shop where he was an apprentice barber . The shop is located about 500 metres away from our residence.
“About 30 minutes later, pandemonium broke out when a land speculator, Mutairu Owoeye, and his thugs invaded the town in company of some policemen. They came purportedly to enforce a court judgement on Oke Ore land. They beat up our people, and turned the town upside down.
When they were leaving, the thugs and policemen started shooting sporadically. My son who was trying to cross the road was hit by stray bullets and he died. I am appealing to both the state and Federal governments to let justice take its course on those who have been arrested so far on the matter. My son should not die in vain.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, Community Development Council, Oke Ore town, Kunle Amosu, told our correspondent that Owoeye had been a thorn in the flesh of the community, and was bent on dispossessing them of their land. He alleged that Owoeye accompanied by some of his supporters arrived the town at exactly 11am and unleashed mayhem on the people. The Chairman said their forefathers had for over 300 years settled in the area made up of communities as Oke Ore, Ajibawo, Onse-Olose, Kajola-Iboro and Olorunda/Olowu.
He alleged that Owoeye and his men had been terrorising and harassing the community for sometime, until the latest one in which Bidemi was killed. He said: “For the past 23 years, the Akinboyede family of Ota has been threatening us on this land. “Alhaji Mutairu Owoeye and his cohorts have been used on many occasions to terrorise our communities with the purpose of dispossessing us of our inheritance. Some of our people had suffered illegal arrests and detention at the instance of Owoeye.
“We prayed that we will get justice. I am praying that nobody by whatever name would tamper with this case. That everybody that is concerned must not tamper with it”.
When asked whether the community was responsible for the burial expenses, he answered in the affirmative, saying the community was indeed responsible for the mortuary expenses, the casket, the burial rites and other expenses. Also speaking after the burial, the Iyalode of Oke-Ore and Gbalefa community, Olufunmilayo Idowu described the incident as a great loss.
She said: “It is Mutairu Owoeye that is disturbing us in Oke-Ore; he wants to take our land away from us. Though we did not resist him when he came to paste a court judgement, their action led to the death of a secondary school leaver who did not offend him.
“The boy just finished eating and came out when the bullet hit him and killed him. The Police are now denying this. We want the government to come to our aid and ensure justice is done.
“They are looking at every means to bail Owoeye out of the detention. Chief Obasanjo should come to our help.” Idowu, who decried the incident, pleaded with the state government and security agencies to come to the aid of the residents. Police spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who confirmed the incident, said preliminary report indicated that Owoeye and his boys stormed the community.
He said those found culpable would not escape justice.