• UK based lawyer, another accuse Chinese firm of encroachment, using police to harass, seek Gov Abiodun’s intervention
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
London based lawyer, Adeniran Adewumi, has pleaded with Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State to intervene in an alleged land encroachment case by a Chinese firm, Sinoki System Ltd, operating in the state.
Adewumi, an indigene of Ekiti State, claimed that he acquired the land in 2005 from OPIC (Ogun State and Investment Property Corporation) which at the time was allocating land in the state.
According to him, he had commenced the development of the property by erecting perimeter fence and sand filling because the land swampy.
He, however, alleged that he was surprised to notice that his property alongside some other property around had been encroached upon by the Chinese firm.
Adewumi said when he sent one of his family friends who came to Nigeria from the United Kingdom in 2019 to check the site, he was shocked that a bigger fence covering many acres of land had been erected round his plot.
“My name is Mr Adeniran Adewumi. I was aware of the sale of the OPIC land between Ogun and Lagos States in Berger area of Lagos in 2005 and, since I stayed in Lagos, I was interested and then approached the sale team at OPIC Development at Abeokuta office in Ogun State”, he said in a statement obtained by Sunday Vanguard.
According to him, he made necessary payments to Ogun State government and that documents were issued to him including receipt but not with C of O (Certificate of Occupancy) as he was told none of the allotees in the area was issued C of O but with the promise that in future they will be given a Deed of Assignment.
“They gave me the survey plan, allocation letter and also did the approved plan. So, I started clearing the bush and found out that the land was at a swampy area where I needed to do a lot of sand filling and German floor.
“I then employed some laborers to clear the bush and continually fill the land with 20 tonnes of sand of 10 tippers every six months and also fenced the land round and erected a gate.
“All these were done every six months just to take the possession of the land because at that time there was no road to the land and the place was not developed.
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“It was so difficult getting to the land to sand fill as there were lots of thick bushes and the land area was swampy, it always became so bad whenever it rained that I almost got discouraged.
“So I continued sand filling the land especially during dry season and cleared the bushes as well. So I can say I was the person that helped other people to gain access to the land through sand filling.
“I remember that, sometime ago, there was an issue that someone informed me that there were some people hijacking land in OPIC.
“I quickly called someone in the Bureau of Lands who showed me my land. His name is Surveyor Olumide and I asked him to check my land for me and he confirmed to me not to worry as my land was intact.
“So it came as a shock when I sent a family friend who came to Nigeria from UK in 2019 to help me check my site and he reported that a bigger fence had been erected round my plot which covered acres of land.
“I called OPIC and Bureau of Lands and OPIC confirmed that, as far as they were concerned, my land was secured and that it was Bureau of Lands that was selling lands to Chinese people because they had been given money and that was when I knew the Chinese bought acres of land in the area and they ended up encroaching my land and other lands.”
According to him, at the time, he could not come to Nigeria for up to a year because of his family and job.
“I came to Nigeria this year in March and spoke to people in the area and that was when I knew there was a man who is a petitioner.
“His land was also fenced in and he has taken the Chinese to court, so presently there is an injunction on the land. I even spoke to the new surveyor Mr Bodunrin but he told me that he didn’t want to talk to anyone as the lands have been taken over. He didn’t even check if my land was part of those that were encroached. But, clearly, my land has been fenced inside the bigger fence and he was not helpful.
“I was alarmed at what he said and now decided to take over my land. At that time, the Chinese and the police visited my land and threatened me to leave the land or they will kill me and nothing will happen and they confirmed to me they have money to throw around and have connection as well”.
He said that he reported the matter to the police in Zone 2 Lagos, but noted that the police there were reluctant to handle the matter.
“I then broke a part of the fence to gain access to my land to continue working as usual”, he said.
“Presently, the property is above foundation, it is on German floor and work is ongoing on the site.
“Other people whose land have been encroached have stood up to fight for their lands and the matter will soon be taken to court for injunction against Ogun State and the Chinese as I see no sense in selling already allocated lands to another party.Being a lawyer and a victim, I believe Governor Abiodun that I know very well will not tolerate or support this wicked act”.
Another victim, Mr. Denis Abayomi Balogun, claimed to have been allocated Plot 9, BLK AL Scheme 1 Res Area 1, Plot 16, BLK AL Scheme 1 Area 1, and he has joined in the protest to claim his land.
Balogun also enjoined Governor Abiodun to wade into the matter.
He said, “I pray the government of the day in Ogun led by His Excellence Dapo Abiodun will stand up for truth, justice, fairness, humanity and all that are godly in line with his oath of office.
“Beyond that he stood on the altar of God at RCCG Jesus House London whilst sharing his election victory testimony to say he will be just and fair in governing the state.
“This is one of the many times that God will hold him to his words and commitments before Him and man. I call on him to fulfill his promises in this case”.
He said following alleged harassment by the Chinese and the police, he reported the matter at Ojodu Abiodun Police Divisional with jurisdiction over the area.
“It’s commendable that they acted professionally in attending to our complaint and ensuring peace thus enabling us the confidence to continue work as of now”, he said.
“They have assured us that no police are allowed to threaten us whilst going about our construction work”.