Landlords, residents and owners of properties in Oki Community of Egbeda local government area of Oyo state have cried out over the danger and threat posed to them by some individuals believed to be land grabbers who have allegedly besieged their communities in the last few months.
The vast settlement located along Iwo Road in the heart of Ibadan, the state capital, harbours close to 30 autonomous communities and zones within which there are more than 3,000 houses, commercial structures and other properties including undeveloped pieces of land. All of this had reportedly attracted some people who now claim to be original owners and make violent attempt to exercise certain rights.
It was gathered that palpable fear enveloped the atmosphere as most of the residents who spoke on condition of anonymity fingered some individuals described as members of Akindipe family as being behind the whole crisis. They accused them of employing the services of an Ibadan-based socialite who they described as a professional land grabber (Ajagungbale) and with whom the Akindipes have been disturbing the peace of the whole communities since last year.
While Speaking to newsmen, one resident who gave his name as Hashim (surname withheld) confirmed the development.
His words; “It is true some impostors are laying claims to the ownership the whole place and they have taken many steps including violent attacks on innocent people to either extort property owners or take total possession of other people’s properties. They parade themselves as descendants of Akindipe family whose root cannot even be traced to Oki here.
“I’m an indigene of Oki and I can confess openly that our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers sold a good portion of land here to the present occupants. To this end, we don’t have any right to the pieces of land again but these miscreants who are not even related to us have now come around to forcefully taken over what belong to others. They started by installing one Munirudeen Alatise as Baale in April this year and the same man is the one authorising his agents to unleash terror on the people with a view to taking over their properties.” The 58 year-old man said.
Another female resident who preferred anonymity recounted her experience in the hands of the land grabbers who, she said, always moved round the communities with dangerous weapons and lay claims to undeveloped pieces of land which they either try to resell to the real owner or get a new buyer for.
“We gathered reliably that these usurpers have entered into an agreement with one Óbàjétì who they allowed to erect a mall on the first pieces of land which they hijacked with an understanding that he would use his machinations to cow all of us (genuine property owner) to submission through violence.”
“Apart from the illegal Baale, there are others like Alfa Sule and Taofeek who mobilize thugs and policemen each time they want to encroach on innocent people’s properties. At the moment, they target undeveloped pieces of land and recently, they made a pastor their victim when they forcefully seized his five plots of land and asked him to pay seven million naira in addition to a demand for ceding of half of the land to them. This was without any justification other than a verbal claim of ownership. We now live in fear because these impostors can do anything to perpetrate their nefarious activities.” She added.
Also speaking, the President of Oki and Environs Landlords and Residents Association, Bashorun Ariyo Fadairo who described the situation as highly ridiculous and very disturbing.
He then appealed to Gov. Seyi Makinde and all authorities concerned to wade in urgently to “forestall likely breach of public peace which might happen any moment from now since the land grabbers are resolute in going ahead with their plans to forcefully take over our properties.
“In this modern age, we don’t understand how some unscrupulous people would just wake up somewhere and start laying claims to other people’s properties even without any genuine proof. The areas affected include; Oki, Wofun, Alekuso, Ayenreti, Aba-Ada, Agoro, Oke-Ola, Arinkinkin, Agbede, Oke-Ola, Eketa-Omo, Isokan, Alaska among others and all the property owners have our legal documents while most of us have been here for over 30 years.
“We are using this medium to call on our dear Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, to come to our rescue by stopping these miscreants from unleashing further violence and threat of attacks on us. We also make a strong appeal to the Olubadan of Ibadanland, The Commissioner of Police as well as all the security agencies in the state to do the needful and ensure that we do not lose our lives and properties to land grabbers and enemies of humanity.” Fadairo concluded.