Yakoyo community of Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State have protested “assault and reign of terror” on them by alleged land grabbers, hell-bent on “taking over their land.”
Aggrieved members of the community, which borders Lagos State, took to the streets in their large numbers to express their grievances over activities of the hoodlums allegedly being backed by the Olojodu of Ojodu, Oba Olusegun Benson.
They said Yakoyo and Ojodu are separate communities, warning the monarch to perish the idea of “annexing their community.”
The protesting residents sang solidarity songs and carried placards with various inscriptions, some of which read “Olojodu, Stop Intimidating People over their land. No free land for sale in Yakoyo,” “Olojodu Stop Breaking Land Grabbers’ Law of Ogun State,” “Olojodu Stop Inflicting injury on Yakoyo community members because of Land,” “Yakoyo Cannot get at Ojodu Abiodun Police Station, and culprits have refused to honour Zone 2 Invitation and they claim to have police in their pockets,” among others.
A retiree, Thomas Falade, told newsmen that he bought his land over 40 years ago, warning that any attempt to take over his land would be fiercely resisted.
Speaking with newsmen, the Chairman of Yakoyo Area Community Development Committee (CDC), Olanrewaju Ayokunle, said, “All the problems started in 2019 when the new Olojodu emerged. Ojodu has the Lagos side and Ogun State side, likewise Yakoyo has Lagos side and Ogun side. But this is Yakoyo, Ogun State, and we have lived here long enough.
“So, when the new Olojodu came, he wanted to establish a market here, and we said this is our land and whatever market is to be established, we must have a say. Of course, they were using debris to fill the land under the bridge, then the Ministry of Environment stopped the land. Because of this, he (Olojodu) had Yakoyo in mind and all he wanted was to annex Yakoyo, which is not going to be possible.”
He also alleged the imposition of new Baale on the community, saying, “we must have a say in the emergence of who governs us.”
One of executive members of the CDC, Miss Adefunmi Buraimoh, who was attacked by the hoodlums, alleged collusion between the alleged land grabbers and the police.
“Our community is no longer safe. We want to strictly channel our matter to the government because they said they have Dapo Abiodun in their pockets, they have IGP in their pockets and that even if they kill, nothing can happen,” she said.
She called on the state government to wade into the matter urgently to avoid breakdown of law and order.
Speaking with newsmen at his palace, Olojodu of Ojodu, Oba Olusegun Benson, said there was no case of land grabbing in the Yakoyo community.
He asked the agitating Yakoyo residents to supply any written document or notice on the alleged plans to take over their land.
Daily Trust reports that, however, said trouble started when he, as the consenting authority over the community, installed a new Baale, but the Yakoyo CDA insisted that they have a right to install the traditional chief.
Bension said, “The CDC or CDA organised themselves and wrote me a letter that they have appointed a new Baale after the demise of the former Baale. The letter is here. I called them and asked “where do you see a CDC or CDA appointing Baale?” You can even toil with appointing a monarch. I told them it’s not within their rights to appoint Baale. They are not from Aworiland, they only came, bought land and built houses.
“I asked them to go and meet the Koseni family, the original land owner, over the Baale appointment, but they refused. It is the Koseni family that brought the new Baale.”
In his reaction, the Police Spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, denied that the police have taken sides in the crisis, saying there is no iota of truth in the allegation.
Oyeyemi admitted that a case of assault was reported to the police, with some arrest made, but the suspects were later released on bail “because it’s a bailable offence.”
“Releasing somebody on bail does not mean that is the end of the case. In the process, the Kabiyesi, Olojodu invited all of them, he told the DPO that he is going to settle the matter between the two parties. They were released to go for a peaceful resolution of the matter,” Oyeyemi said.