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Land grabbers pull down properties, displace over 100 owners in Lagos

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Dozens of property owners in Okegun-Museyo community in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government, Lagos State were currently been enveloped in apprehension after suspected land grabbers invaded the axis and pulled down several buildings with the promise to return another day to continue the exercise.

Some of the property owners were said to be hospitalised after watching the hoodlums, brought by the alleged land grabbers, demolish their structures which they erected with proceeds gotten over the years from petty businesses they engage in.

As gathered, some of the residents were widows who erected the building from the gratuity paid to their husbands after their demise, basically to prevent paying rents daily, which could have taken a large chunk of the money.

The property owners, who had lived for over 12 years in the community, grading roads and developing other facilities through self-help have, were surprised after the land grabbers stormed the community and claimed that the land belong to them.

The curious residents, as gathered, demanded documents from Lagos State Government to indicate that the land belongs to them but rather than show proof, the land grabbers directed the Policemen attached to the State Command to chase them away, in order to perfect their plans.

Worried by the developments, the residents embarked on a peaceful demonstration on Sunday and appealed that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, intervene in the case.

One of the properties demolished

The residents including children, who defied the scorching sun, were armed with placards with various inscriptions appealing to the governor, Speaker, House of Assembly, Mudasiru Obasa, as well as the Senator representing Lagos East senatorial district, Tokunboh Abiru, and others to help stop the demolition and return their land to them.

Speaking on behalf of the community, the Community Development Association (CDA) chairman, Adedeji Adeagbo, described their situation as traumatising, disclosing a landlord has landed in the hospital after she was told that her house has been demolished.

He added that they have embarked on the process that the government indicated was necessary for property owners to wade off land grabbers from any property procured from the community.

“We have done the charting and a document was received indicating that the land was not acquired by the Lagos State Government and that it has not been bought over by anyone before we all purchased it.

“But recently, we discovered that some suspected land grabbers had invaded our community and started announcing that the entire land in the community with over 500 properties belong to them and we demanded to know how but they did not show any proof for their claim.

“One of the land grabbers we know and very prominent is DPK Homes and property. And he had been moving around the community to survey the land.

“When we ask, the land grabbers will harass us and claim that they are from New Towns Development Authority (NTDA), which we have discovered that was untrue. Many of us could no longer move as we have been doing before now.

“We are pleading to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to please intervene and to ensure that we can get our lands back from these grabbers. We know that the governor stands for the masses and has reiterated severally that he will often uphold justice for all”.

A former CDA chairman, Kolawole Ojo, who displayed documents indicating the government approvals, said that the community is not existing in isolation, saying the Lagos State government recognise that Okegun-Museyo community is in existence.

Ojo, while narrating how the land grabbers stormed the community, said that they came into the community with about 50 police patrol vehicles to ensure that the operation become successful.

According to him, many thought the about 50 patrol vehicles were on a manhunt for a criminal after the law enforcement officers, who were all armed with guns, occupied the entire community.

“But after a few minutes, we realised that they were providing security for land grabbers that had come to take over our land from us.

“And looking at the policemen, none of us could challenge the land grabbers in fear that the policemen could become uncivil in their conduct.

“What we want and also asking the government is to please consider us as good citizens and assist us to get our land back in order for us to live in peace and harmony”.

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