April 6, 2019

Land dispute: Hoodlums attack occupants of Abiola Farms, Ayobo

Food Security: NALDA moves to reactivate 1,200 hectares farmland in Ekiti

File: farmers

•As residents cry for help

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Embattled residents and occupants on 400 acres of Abiola Farms in Ayobo, owned by the late business mogul and philanthropist, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale, MKO, Abiola, have called for the immediate intervention of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and Commissioner of Police, following invasion of their community by hundreds of hoodlums allegedly brought in by warring party in Abiola’s family.

The restive residents are currently sleeping with one eye closed in the community over fears of imminient attack from the warring party in Abiola’s family. Fresh crisis broke out within the family following legal battle on the true ownership of the land in Ayobo area of the state between Radio Communication Nigeria, RCN, Limited and some section within the family. The land under dispute is located at Igbo Ilogbo, Ayobo, Ipaja-Ayobo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, which accommodates over 4,000 of residents.

Appeal Court sacks Gombe member-elect

Earlier, some members of the late Abiola’s family in an attempt to enforce a court judgment of March 14, 2019 that confers ownership of the land in dispute on MKO Abiola, directed all tenants to come forward for regularization of their titles or risk forceful ejection.

However, the Chairman of RCN and son of late MKO, Kola Abiola, reacting to the development, described the ownership claim by some section of the family as “fraudulent.”

The Solicitor to RCN, Abimbola Olomola-Owa and Co, maintained that the family’s position was in complete variance to the interpretation of an earlier court judgment given on the same property.

Olomola-Owa, in the wake of the crisis, petitioned Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Commissioner of Police, and other relevant authourities, stating that: “We have made efforts to conduct searches through our lawyers as to the persons who instituted the action to warrant levying execution to our land without any form of information or notification to us, but till date we have not got any information as the file is being jealously guided. The land which is about 400 acres is well developed and there is no doubt that the proposed action if carried out will lead to break down of law and order in Ayobo.

Happening Now: PDP BoT meets in Abuja

“The fact that the case file (if any) could not be traced coupled with the planned urgency by the sheriffs and the conspirators to carry out the execution informed this petition requesting that the matter be fully investigated and given most urgent attention to avoid impending crisis in our land and Ayobo environment. We count on your ability and capacity to forestall any illegality using the court as machinery or tool.”

The solicitor who had filed a suit in Ikeja High Court, to stop the invaders from illegal acquisition of the land, maintained that other members of the family in contention had misrepresented the fact of the earlier judgment of the court on ownership of the land.

She explained that a litigant, in the name of one Alhaji Afariogun whose name was used by other family members for the acquisition of the land in court judgment only bought six acres of land which he later relinquished to RCN following law suit. According to the solicitor, who also tendered an earlier petition written to the state Commissioner of Police, ‘Our client is the owner of an expanse of land situate at Igbo-Ilogbo, Ayobo, Lagos State.

“To the best of our knowledge and based on searches conducted by us at the High Court of Lagos State and the Appellate Courts, there is no known judgment, litigation or summons against our client to warrant any invasion.

‘We suspect a conspiracy between these set of people and some unscrupulous court officials. From information getting to us, they are fast mobilizing forces to execute the ill-motivated action with non-existent judgment. We hereby solicit for police intervention to forestall loss of lives and property as well as prevent total breakdown of law and other. The Board, Management and members of our client company are law abiding citizens who did not want the members of Igbo-Ilogbo community to march force with force with these hoodlums.’

Claims by warring party

The issue came to the fore following a press conference in Ikeja, where Chief Muritalah Abiola, the acclaimed Head of Abiola family, said MKO Abiola was using the land for his conglomerated companies and also with the intention for farming.

He added that he acquired the various expanse of land with various names of his companies, among but not limited to Radio Communication Nigeria Limited RCN, Summit Oil Nigeria Limited, Abiola Farms Nigeria Limited, while some were with his name.

He said Abiola and his above mentioned companies were lawfully put in possession, obtained post transactional approvals from the government and was doing well to the notice of all and sundry in such that the entire location was known and referred to as Abiola Farms.

He said the family was willing to compensate people “who had wrongly bought the land from the wrong people” with evidence on the judgment concerns showing delineated survey plan, No. RA/144 dated 25th March, 1977, and covered by the Deed of Conveyance dated March 28, 1977, and registered as No. 24 in Volume 1620 of the Land Registry, Lagos.

AP Moller Terminals, Oyo Govt in N3.2bn logistics hub partnership

The warring party’s Attorney, Victor Olawale, maintained that according to law “before anyone pays for a piece of land, there is need to survey the land to ensure the land has not been bought by somebody”, explaining that the illegal occupiers of Chief MKO Abiola Farms needed to survey the land before making payments for plots there.

Residents react

Speaking on-behalf of the residents at a stakeholders’ meeting, recently, the solicitor, Tunji Adeyemi, narrated: “On the 14th of March 2019 early in the morning, some agents acting for yet to be identified persons and parading the Igbo-Ilogbo, Ayobo, issued threat that they have got a court judgment and moved in full force to forcibly take over the possession of the land belonging to RCN, the only legal owner of the land in dispute.

“About four Sheriffs of High Court of Lagos State and police men and over a thousand thugs invaded Abiola Farms’ estate consisting of many communities including seven Community Development Associations, CDAs and over 500 households. They broke into peoples’ houses riding on bikes disturbing our children from going to school and traumatized the entire community.

“At the last count we have about five people who suffered miscarriages, some landlords had been in the hospital and some have developed high blood pressure while some cannot sleep in their house anymore.”

Giving the background to the development, he recalled that there was a judgment of high court obtained in the suit no 11D155 1986 in favour of NRC and that judgment was appealed against and another judgment was given in appeal no CA/L/199/1994. These two judgments were in favour of NRC. Since 2002 NRC has taken full charge of the land. At a point Lagos State Government took over the land but they went to court and got the judgment and Lagos State Government relinquished the land back to NRC and they have sold larger potion to many people who have built houses and also reside.

We will go nude on the streets if …, Anambra women storm police HQ over alleged harassment

“Suddenly, some people got same judgment at the High Court which was against the people who got the land from NRC. We are ready to defend our legal and human rights against any aggression from any group or groups of person, hence, the need for immediate intervention by the governor and CP, Subairu Muazu to nib what could degenerate into a community clash and possible loss of lives and properties.”

The lawyer, however, presented a petition and an affidavit by Chairman RCN, which read in parts: Following De-Renovation of the entire of land by the Government of Lagos state, De-Revocation notice was Gazetted in Lagos State Government official Gazzette No 42 in volume 114 dated the 6th day of

October 2011.

For the umpteenth time, last weekend, residents comprising of seven Community Development Associations, staged protest and called on relevant authorities to come to their aid as their lives were under daily threat from hoodlums that invaded their community few weeks ago.

The disputed land which is under threat, the residents claimed belong to RCN, their legal landlord.

Addressing the media on behalf of seven Community Development Associations that made up the Abiola Farms, Mr. Richard Balogun, Chairman and Vice Chairman, Alhaji Ganiyu Dosunmu of the Golden Estate Landlord Association, who led the protest, stressed that immediate intervention by the state government and relevant authorities became necessary to forestall bloodshed, as well as destruction of proper.

According to Balogun who had earlier sent petition to relevant authorities:”We residents in Abiola Farm, Ayobo, which comprised of about seven CDAs, are currently land owners who had before now enjoyed peaceable possession of our respective lands and properties thereon having purchased same from RCN Limited who is the rightful owner and person entitled to the possession of the entire vast area of land with ‘ Plan No. R144 dated 25th March, 1977 with Deed of Conveyance, dated 28th March, 1977 and registered as No. 24 at Page 24 in Volume 1620 at the Land Registry office, in Lagos.

“However, on the 14th March, 2019, at about 9: am in the morning the relative peace of the community was shattered when Sheriffs of the. High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja Division in company of yet to be identitied hoodlums and street urchins popularly known as Area Boys invaded the entire Community brandishing dangerous weapons and stinking of alcohol and sending panic into the hearts of the residents under the guise of enforcing a judgment of an Ikeja High Court between RCN Limited V. Alhaji Aliu Afariogun against whom the said judgment was obtained by a ruling dated 4th July, 2018 and delivered by Hon. Justice O.A. Ogala in respect of only an acre (six plots) of land.

“Rather than limiting the execution of the judgment against Alhaji Afariogun to the one acre of land on which he allegedly trespassed, the Court Officials in company of these hoodlums began to mark the entire properties in the community with inscription; POSSESSION TAKEN TODAY PURSUANT TO ORDER OF COURT IN SUIT NO: ID / 155 / 88” thereby instilling fears and panic in the minds of the people of the community who are rightful owners of their respective plots-of lands and buildings thereon having lawfully purchased same from the rightful owner.

“Since the unlawful invasion disguised as execution of court judgment, the hoodlums have held the people of the entire community into ransom, molesting and threatening the landlords, family members and passersby thereby disturbing the hitherto peace of the community till the time of writing this letter.

“Two pregnant women had lost their pregnancies as a result of invasion by miscreants who have held us hostage in our own land and property.”

Osogbo Community, Alumni Association kick against planned sale of school’s land for private use

Solicitor to residents’ asociation, Gani Rufai and Co, in his address stated: “It is pertinent to inform you that the purported judgment was obtained by fraud and impersonation in that RCN Limited, who is our clients’ vendor did not and has never instructed any person whether Lekan Abiola or Jamiu Abiola nor any solicitor for that matter to apply to the Court for the validation and enforcement of the judgment obtained by RCN Limited against Alhaji Aliu Afariogun in Suit No. ID/155/88. What is more, Lekan Abiola and Jamiu Abiola are not in the management of Radio Communications Nigeria Limited and therefore have no capacity to enforce any judgment on behalf of the company. Besides, enforcement of judgment does not permit or authorize the use of violence or thuggery to cause panic and apprehension and therefore the activities of the hoodlums engaged by the duo to harass, threaten, intimidate and locking up the properties of the people of the community is illegal, unlawful and contrary to all known indices of civilization.”

“It is in the light of the above that our clients in the affected communities are soliciting your kind assistance and intervention to dislodge these hoodlums to avert a breakdown of law and order with its attendant loss of lives and properties if prompt action is not taken immediately to douse the rising tension and apprehension which has enveloped the entire communities of Abiola Farms as a result of the presence and activities of the hoodlums stationed and camped in the community.”