By Esther Onyegbula
FORMER workers of Nigerian Telecommunication Company, NITEL, resident in Ikorodu area of Lagos, have raised the alarm over unwholesome activities of land grabbers, saying the land grabbers are endangering their lives and property.
Speaking with Vanguard, some representatives of the embattled community under the aegis of NITEL/MTEL Landlord Association, Ikorodu, recounted their ordeals in the hands of hoodlums working with land grabbers and their alleged sponsors within the community.
According to the Chairman of NITEL/MTEL Landlord Association, Ikorodu, Mr. Emem: “We decided to cry out to the public to seek protection for our personal safety, security and property being endangered by the hoodlums and their paymasters.”
Mr. Emem recalled that trouble began for the over 300 families and residents in the neighbourhood when some land speculators encroached on their property few years ago under the guise of acting on the instructions of some so-called landowners by selling some of the undeveloped plots of the over 67 hectares of land within the vicinity of the estate.
“The place we are currently occupying was NITEL staff quarters. We all lived here during our years of active service between 30 and 40 years ago. The place was subsequently leased to us by the Federal Government in 2007 as former staff of NITEL in liquidation. Everything was gazetted. Few of us were able to develop our plots and moved in with our families while others were doing theirs gradually.
“However, we noticed that few years ago, some parts of the estate not yet developed had been encroached on by land grabbers. These evil men have become our daily source of nightmare. They have practically made our lives miserable and insecure. They come any time of the day, even in the wee hours of the night to torment us. Most times they brandish dangerous weapons, arms and ammunition and even barricade everywhere with their fetishes and charms with the intent to maim, destroy and kill anyone who challenges their activities.
“We don’t feel safe living in our homes anymore. As retirees, we don’t have anywhere else to go. Our lives and those of our loved ones are in grave danger. ”