By ONOZURE DANIA

Days after a Lagos High Court, ruled in its favour, the Agunfoye village Igbogbo, an Ikorodu community in Lagos, has not known peace. Reason: The community has been under attacks by land speculators in an alleged connivance with the police, leading to loss of innocent lives and destruction of property worth millions of naira. This followed a right of occupancy ceded in favour of the Agunfoye village Igbogbo headed by the Adeyoruwa family.

Trail judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru, now of the Court of Appeal had declared the Adeyoruwa of Agunfoye Idi-Orogbo in Igbogbo, Ikorodu as the rightful owner of the village being contested by Ishau Kolawole Ogunlana, Taofik Ijeni, Lateef Ijeni, Azeez Anifowose and Alaba Anifowose respectively.

In the judgement, Justice Abiru said that the Adeyoruwa of Agunfoye Idi-Orogbo had the statutory right of occupancy ‘in respect of the total area of land verged Red except the area verged green in Survey Plan No LAA/0327/07D/007 dated the 4th day of June 2007 drawn by L.A. Animashaun, Licenced Surveyor.

He said: “It is hereby declared that the defendants (Ishau Kolawole Ogunlana, Taofik Ijeni, Lateef Ijeni, Azeez Anifowose and Alaba Anifowose) are entitled to exercise any possessory or proprietary rights in respect of the parcels of land…and that the activities of the defendant on any part of the area of land amount to trespass.

“It is also declared that all sales, transfers of interest in respect of portions of the Adeyoruwa family land at Agunfoye, Idiorogbo carried out without the consent of the Adeyoruwa family are illegal, void and of no effect. “It is hereby ordered that the Adeyoruwa family is entitled to the immediate possession of all the portion of the Adeyoruwa family land at Agunfoye, Idiorogbo sold without their consent.”

Dissatisfied, the aggrieved party in another suit asked another court to invalidate the Justice Abiru’s verdict. But the judge, Justice M.A. Savage dismissed their application, saying that Justice Abiru’s judgement remained valid since it had not been set aside by any superior courts of record.

Justice Savage affirmed Justice Abiru’s position.

He said: “It is hereby ordered that leave of this court to levy execution on the the claimants/Judgment debtors by the deputy sheriff of this court by taking possession of all portion of land at Agunfoye, Idi Orogbo in line with the judgment of this court is hereby granted.

“It is also ordered that the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State should assist the Sheriff to execute the judgement of this court by taking all possession of all portion of the Adeyoruwa family land at Agunfoye, Idiorogbo sold by the claimants/Judgment debtors with all orders made in the judgment therein.”

But instead, the court order was ignored as the police had been fingered in the alleged violence rocking the community following the judgement. The police, according to Mr. Gbenga Ojo, a lawyer to the family, comprising Mushin Ogijo, Isiu and Agunfoye-Igbogbo communities had allegedly connived with some land speculators to deprive the family of the execution of the judgements.

Specifically, Ojo in a petition to the Police Service Commission, Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, National Security Adviser and other security agencies accused eight natives of the area of using the police to scuttle the court’s judgment in the matter. In the petition, Ojo accused the police and some other persons of working against the interest of justice. All, according to him, allegedly worked in tandem with the police to scuttle judicial process in the matter.

He said: “On several occasions, some of this persons had invaded our clients’ communities to molest innocent people living in the communities with the intention to forcefully disposes them of their land. As a result of a series of these attacks on our clients, many innocent people have been killed and injured while valuable property worth millions of naira were also destroyed.

“Also in another development, despite the judgments of the court in Suits Nos. IKD/02/2007, IKD/24/2011 and IKD/68/2014 in favour of our client’s at Agunfoye village Igbogbo and a recent affirmation of the judgments by  Justice  Savage of the State High Court sitting in Ikorodu,  some of these persons on April 23, 2016 allegedly led armed thugs and some policemen from Lagos State Ipakodo unit to invade the said village in defiance to the court order, in the process they shot and killed one of their thugs and caused the police to arrest 82 year-old Chief, Ishau  Ogunlana and two of his children while their thugs took over the entire village.”

Already, the Police Service Commission (PSC) which acknowledged Ojo’s petition had directed the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase to commence investigation into the allegations with a view to bringing the alleged perpetrators to book. Particularly, PSC asked Arase to investigate the alleged role played by his officers.

In a letter dated May 6, signed by Emmanuel C. Ibe, the commission said it requested an immediate investigation into the matter. It reads: “The complaint is against one Mutairu Owoeye and his cohorts, who are allegedly terrorizing and harassing some communities. Some Police officers—CP Akintunde and DCP Awoniyi have been accused too. The complainant is also requesting a detailed investigation into the matter.”

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