By Adeola Badru
In many cases, land conflicts in Nigeria have led to the destruction of lives and property as well as the displacement of people, particularly in the rural areas.
Activities of land-grabbers are not only illegal but anti-thetical to societal development, peace and progress.
The land-grabbers speculate on land with little or no recourse to land use laws, as they even engage in the illegal sale of official land to unsuspecting individuals. They sometimes even dispossess people of the land that are legitimately bought from the government.
They also sell lands with no proper planning or cognisance of a mapped out environmental outlay.
This ugly trend led landowners and residents of Fenwa community, Apata, in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State, to seek the help of the state government over the alleged wrongful takeover of their land by a popular estate developer, Adron Homes.
The residents, in their hundreds, carried placards with various inscriptions to the Agodi Governor’s Office Secretariat, urging the state government to wade in on the land dispute.
The land is situated in Bako, Egan-arin, Fenwa community in the state.
Vanguard gathered that before the alleged take-over of the said land, the indigenes of these villages have been living peacefully on the land, selling some of the lands to various buyers who have built their homes on the land.
According to Vanguard investigation, residents of the area got distress calls that some hoodlums, led by Adron Homes, had invaded the community, bulldozing both residential buildings and farmlands along the paths.
A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with Vanguard, said their loved ones who tried to approach them to find out what was going on, were attacked and chased away, while builders of Adron and its alleged accomplices were busy hastily erecting fences on the property of members of the community.
He said Adron with its accomplices, together with their thugs they came with to violently grab their land and deprive them of the livelihood were fully aware that there is a subsisting judgement of the court in their favour against them, adding that they (Adron) openly boasted that they were untouchable and unstoppable.
The source maintained that the “thugs and land-grabbers” masquerading as land speculators and investors succeeded in violently driving them away from their ancestral homes.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the Mogaji Olajumoke of Fenwa Village, Chief Sunday Olayori alleged: “Sometime in March 2021, upon a routine inspection, “residents of the community discovered that Adron Homes started encroaching our land.”
He alleged that landowners have been accosted many times by heavily armed thugs and police officers, who dared to shoot and beat them at the sight of anyone.
The Mogaji revealed that upon further investigation, it has been discovered that over 250 hectares of the community’s land had been encroached upon by Adron Homes.
He insisted that the community never entered into any form of transaction with the firm.
Mogaji said: “Given this situation, we have decided to plead with the Governor of Oyo State to save our souls. Adron Homes has continued to trespass on our land.
“All we require is for an impartial committee to be set up to settle the disputes legally by reversion of our land back to us.
“We shall go to any length to obtain justice in this matter and we hope that the Government of Oyo State would come to our aid.”
Adron Homes keep mum
Vanguard’s efforts to seek an audience with the management of Adron Homes proved abortive, as one of the representatives of the company, declined to comment or speak with Vanguard.