By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
Indigenes of Makun community in Sagamu, Sagamu local government area of Ogun State on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest at the Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, over alleged land grabbing activities by Oniraniken of Iraniken, Sagamu, Oba Adewale Adeniji accusing the traditional ruler of using land grabbers to forcefully take over about 4,500 hectares of farmland belonging to 14 Makun communities.
Some of the communities where Oba Adewale Adeniji was said to have used land grabbers to sack the people from their farmland are Okerala, Oko-Iwaju, Ipa, Idarika, Alawun, Simawa, Apena Seriki among others
The protesters were armed with placards with different inscriptions such as “We need justice in Makun Kingdom” “Gov. Dapo Abiodun save us from land grabbers” “Makun people need peace in our community”, “Oba Oniraniken leave us alone” among others.
Addressing journalists, their spokesperson, Alhaji Jamiu Alabi Olododo said the essence of the protest was to call on Governor Dapo Abiodun to prevail on Oniraniken, Oba Adewale Adeniji to desist from his alleged land grabbing activities in Makun communities.
Olododo said “for over a year now, the Oniraniken, Oba Adewale Adeniji had been using land grabbers to terrorize our people and chase them away from their farms. We have reported him to Ogun State House of Assembly as well as the Akarigbo of Remo land but he has not to desist from his illegality.
“Even last week, eight land grabbers working for the traditional ruler were arrested by police from the Force headquarters, Abuja. We want the government to set up a panel of enquiry to look at this issue and also caution Oba Adeniji to stop this crude means of acquiring what never belongs to him”.
Also speaking, the acting Secretary of the Ewusi-in-Council, Otunba Kayode Howells said “this land in question has for decades been homestead for the Makun people, but suddenly, Oba Adewale Adeniji said he got a judgment from somewhere; whereas the inhabitants of those areas he said he got judgment were not even informed about any court case”.
Otunba Howells urged Governor Abiodun to step in and form an independent judicial commission to investigate the claims of Makun community and that of Oniraniken with a view to establishing the truth.
Addressing the protesters, the State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Afolabi Afuape who was accompanied by the Special Adviser to the governor on Land Matters, Mr Aina Salami said a letter over the subject matter had been received and feedback will be given as soon as possible.
Afuape urged members of the communities not to take laws into their hands, but to continue to give peace a chance assuring that the government will dispassionately look into the matter and ensure that justice was served.
The Commissioner said ” now that you have brought this issue to the notice of the government, be rest assured that the government will do justice to it. I also implore you to maintain peace as you go back home because no meaningful development could be achieved in a chaotic environment”.
Meanwhile, Oniraniken of Iraniken, Oba Adewale Adeniji while speaking with our Correspondent denied being a land grabber, insisting that he is a recognized traditional ruler in the country and that the farmland under dispute belongs to his Osoedu family as declared by the judgments of two Ogun State High Courts sitting in Sagamu in 2018 and January 2020.
Oba Adewale Adeniji said “rather than inciting people and causing crisis where there is none, once a court of competent jurisdiction gave a judgment on a matter, I think the right thing is to either abide by the judgment or seek for redress in a higher court.
“That’s what I expect those having interest over this family farmland should do and not be heating up polity through unnecessary protest. I equally request that Governor Abiodun should set up a Judicial panel of inquiry on this matter to get it resolved once and for all. The truth however remains that Makun people have no land whatsoever in all these communities” he submitted.