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Land-grabbing: Trouble looms in Lagos community

Source Nation

TROUBLE is brewing in Santos Layout Estate, Dopemu in Lagos State, as residents are poised for a showdown with some people they described as land-grabbers over the ownership of a portion of land currently being used as recreation centre in the estate.

The Community Development Association (CDA) chairman of Santos Layout, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Olawale, had on Monday, while speaking to The Nation on the matter, accused land grabbers of plotting to take over the portion of land through illegal means. “They have been coming here to threaten us with men of the Lagos State Special Task Force,” he alleged.

According to The Nation reports, its revealed that the face-off is actually between the Iyayomi land owners’ family and the C.D.A executives over what use the disputed land should be put to. While the C.D.A is insisting the space will remain a recreation centre, the Iyayomi family allegedly wants to put it to another use which is personal to the family members.

Sources within the estate claimed that the family has been using thugs and policemen to threaten the leadership of the C.D.A in their determination to acquire the land at all cost. “The activity of the family is now a serious threat to the peace of the community,” our source said.

On its part, the Iyayomi family claimed the portion of land belong to the family and has never been ceded or sold to any individual or group. “The place is our farmland from time immemorial. It was never sold. We are only reclaiming what belong to us,” a family source said.

But residents of the area said the Iyayomi family is not even part of the land owning family of the area. “We know the Santos family. That is the family we got our lands from. This Iyayomi family people are strangers here trying to acquire a public space for personal use by force,” our source said.

“On May 24, 2019, at about 8am, land grabbers invaded the community with armed task force men and hoodlums who forcefully brought down the gate to the layout and replaced it with a new one they had brought. Chief Joseph Oshiotse, a community leader in the layout who approached the Task Force officer, Mr. Leo Samuel, was told that the takeover was on the authority of the commandant of the Task force, Olayinka Egbeyemi. We made further efforts at the Alausa Police Station to find out if they knew about the takeover order and a report was made to the Shasha Police Station,” Olawale said.

“On 27th May, 2019, the land grabbers came back with vehicles loaded with thugs and all sorts of weapons to cause disruption in the layout but two of them identified as Kunle Iyayomi and Taiwo Iyayomi, were apprehended by the police. The CDA thereafter demanded that the captured thugs should be charged to court for breach of peace and malicious damage of public property,” he added. According to the C.D.A, the land was approved on 25th April, 1977 by the Ministry of Works & Planning, Physical Planning Division Secretariat, Ikeja, as a Recreation Centre accessible to all and sundry of the community.

Owoyiga Kolawole, the Financial Secretary of the Association said, “as designated by the Lagos state government at approval of the layout, the recreation centre has being very useful to the people. Schools use the centre for their sports and events, churches use the centre for their programmes as at when needed and everyone has benefitted immensely from the accessibility of the recreation centre. Youths from different communities also use the space for sports and other activities. I know Peter Rufai, ex-Eagle goalkeeper, used to play on the field, Osita Chidoka, who was a former head of Road Safety and later became Minister of Aviation, and a host of others used this pitch too.”

While urging the Lagos state government to intervene in the matter before the peace of the area is disrupted, the C.D.A chairman spoke about the false allegations levied against him and other executives by the Iyayomi family. “The family levied false allegations that I hired thugs to prevent access to their farmland and that the thugs I hired shot at two of their people. I told them at Alagbon that there is no farmland in the layout and that the land in dispute has always being a recreation center. So I demanded that they provide substantial evidence to back up their claims but they couldn’t and they knew they couldn’t detain me, so they requested that we appear again at the FCID on October 3, 2019″ he stated.

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