By James Ogunnaike
The Osoedu family of Okerala village n Sagamu local government area of Ogun State has accused members of the Ogun State House of Assembly of meddling in private land, that is even before a court.
The family, however, urged the lawmakers to stop forthwith its investigation into the disputed farmland measuring 4511 acres.
The Osoedu family, who made the appeal through its counsel, Barrister Kole Oyedele, at a press conference attended by the Oniraniken of Iraniken, Sagamu, Oba Adewale Adeniji and other family members held at Iperu Remo, disclosed that his clients had not only got a valid judgement from an Ogun State High Court sitting in Sagamu, but there are about six other cases pending in court on the same land.
He explained that the position of the law is that when matters are before the court of law, such are not to be adjudicated upon by any party, as such interference are not only subjudice but also contemptuous and punishable under the law.
“On the 18th day of April 2018, the State High court, sitting in Sagamu pronounced judgement in a matter between Oba Adewale Adeniyi Adeniji, the Kabiyesi, Oniranikin of Iranikin, Sagamu, Chief Nurudeen Adebayo Sanni, Prince Adesegun Ogunkoya”.
“The judgement was pronounced against the adverse possessors, the trespassers on their family land. Among other orders of the court, a perpetual injunction was issued against the defendant and the family was given customary right of occupancy of the expanse of farmland”.
“Shortly afterwards, the defendant in the suit filed an application to set aside the judgement and on the 14th day of January 2020, the Ogun State High Court, sitting in Sagamu dismissed the application and by so doing, reaffirmed the judgement of the honourable court as pronounced in favour of my client”.
“Consequently, the deputy sheriff of Ogun State with the support of the Commissioner of Police enforced the judgment and the family was issued with the wreath of execution and wreath of possession”, Oyedele said.
The counsel said that the Assembly had summoned the monarch via a letter dated December 5, 2020, asking him to appear before the House Committee on land-based on a petition written by one Waheed Sodiya, Baale of Kanuyi alleging among other things that the traditional ruler had been using landgrabbers to take possession of the family farmland under dispute.
“What they are trying to do is to deprive my client, the Osiedu descendant family the benefit of that judgement. Two, they are afraid because of the claim of the Osiedu descendant family that Oke-rala was never part of Makun and is still not part of Makun. It is a matter of historical facts and that is why the Ewusi of Makun came in”.
Oyedele declared that “The State House of Assembly doesn’t have the power to adjudicate over private lands”, saying that “a family land is a customary land which belongs to a family and the House of Assembly doesn’t have power over that. Only the court can adjudicate, the Assembly cannot award land, it is not a State land and we are telling them to keep off until all the processes in court are exhausted”.
“People should ask them what their interest over the land is. They are requesting for the survey plan of Osiedu descendant family, they are not requesting for the survey plans of those various families who don’t even have petitions before them. What is their interest?”
Barr. Oyedele explained that out of the respect for the Assembly, his clients had appeared before the Committee on Lands and had humbly submitted the position of the law on the matter under consideration but it appeared that the Assembly would want none of this as they have continued to demand the survey plans of the farmland.
He disclosed further that rather than resorting to any arm twisting tactics, what any member of the Assembly who has interest in the disputed family land could do was to file a motion to join the suit, stressing that anything less was abuse of court processes and would be vehemently resisted under the law”.