When two elephants fight, they say it is the grass that suffers. Same holds true today for the Egan Arepo community of Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Prior to the recent clash, community lived in peace. But now, the centre no longer holds. The bone of contention is between two land agents, who have each other at the jugular, causing untold hardship on the once calm community.
With the clash exacerbating gradually despite concerted efforts to ameliorate it, THISDAY gathered that some of the residents were forced to flee their homes to safety owing to the fact that already many have been injured as well as property running into millions of naira destroyed.
To state that all is definitely not well at the moment with the Ogun State community is stating the obvious. The alleged reported clashes of two contending land developers on a portion of property in the area has given rise to the community dwellers living constantly on their toes.
THISDAY checks revealed that the crisis over a portion of land is between two land developers identified as Bimaj Top Realties Limited trading under the name of Bevillah Estates and another Messrs Crystal Global Assets Limited.
Whilst the clash lasted, there has been allegations and counter allegations by both groups. Already, one of the groups have accused the other faction of severally harassing their workers, sometimes beating them up.
They also accused the other faction of destroying properties worth millions of naira. With the clash, the disputed portions of the land lies fallow because its purported owners are unable to access the site to retrieve their tools.
Checks revealed that trouble started in the area sometime in January 2014, when one of the developers allegedly encroached into the portion belonging to the other agent.
Before it blew out of proportion, security agents were brought in to mediate and compel the feuding parties to sheathe their swords pending when the matter would be resolved.
However, a member of one of the factions, simply identified as Wale was said to have taken laws into his own hands and unleashed mayhem on the workers of the other faction.
The case presented before the security agents was that representatives of Bevillah Estates, who had purchased 30 acres of land had allegedly extended it by four more acres, thereby allegedly encroaching on the land belong to Messrs Crystal Global Assets Limited.
In their case, Crystal Global Assets Limited were said to have purchased its own portion of land from DehinAshipe and Aderinoye families of the community with the two families having executed separate Irrevocable Powers of Attorney in favour of Messrs Crystal Global Assets Limited.
In their defence, they said when the transaction was held, the traditional ruler of the community, Oba Atanda Solomon Oyebi and other renowned individuals in the community were also reportedly represented during the transactions.
The company lamented that immediately they erected poles and beacons, the said Wale reportedly forced entry and pulled out all the poles and beacons and started erecting another wire fence on the disputed land.
On the said day, some construction workers of Messrs Crystal Global Assets Limited on site were allegedly beaten and injured while their working tools were reportedly seized. The company also alleged that the said Wale had repeatedly threatened the life of their principal, one Mr Dare Adejumo.
Spurred by the incessant harassments and threats,the company had sent a petition to the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Criminal Investigations Department, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The petition which was made by ShinaAdedeji& Co on behalf of Messrs Crystal Global Assets Limited and dated April 29, 20914, against owners of Bevillah Estates, a copy of which was made available, complained about the former alleged threat to the lives of its Managing Director and some of its workers.
The matter has since been assigned to Force CID, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos State where Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr.Adeyanju took charge of the case for investigation.
The petition also cited the malicious damage, harassment and intimidation of the said Wale on the company’s workers.
The petition read in part, “Our client was surprised to see one Mr. Bimbo, MD/CEO of Bevillah Estate and his devilish agent, Wale second name unknown but popularly known as Aremo, a notorious land grabber forcibly entered into the land with his thugs.
“Who armed themselves with dangerous weapons like guns, cutlasses, juju (charms) and other weapons pulled out all our poles and beacons already erected and started erecting his own wire fence on the land we have paid for with the assistance of his hoodlums.
“This was after the Oba in Council had directed that all work on the site should stop to give way for amicable settlement of the dispute.”
Mr Adejumo in an interview said he barely being lynched during one of his visits to the site, adding that some of his workers on site were badly beaten on several occasions.
He claimed, “The matter was thoroughly investigated (by the police) and it was discovered that there was substance in the petition (his own petition).
“All the parties – Bimbo, DehinAshipe family, Aderinoye family, the Olu of Arepo, Oba Solomon AtandaOyebi, Chief LateefAshaolu (Akogun of Arepo), the Crystal Global Assets’ team, and all the witnesses came. Statements were obtained from all the parties.
“The police at Alagbon sent a fact-finding team to Arepo to obtain facts from all the parties. The Arepo Community was led by Chief LateefAshaolu, the Akogun of Arepo.
“Chief Akogun discovered that Bimbo’s land sold to him by Aribido family does not fall within the portion claimed by him and he also found out that the land granted to Crystal Global Assets Limited by DehinAshipe and Aderinoye families to develop actually belong to the two families (DehinAshipe and Aderinoye families) and parties were informed accordingly.
“His Royal Highness reported the outcome of the findings to the Police at Alagbon. Bimbo also accepted that the land does not belong to his company as same does not fall within the Aribido family land that sold land to him.
“Surprisingly, in the evening of the site visitation by the Police team from Alagbon when Bimbo had accepted this land does not belong to him and he had accepted to remove his wire fence, he called Chief Akogun and started inducing him with money that Chief Akogun should give the DehinAshipe family land and Aderinoye family land to him that he would reward him with huge financial compensation.
“Chief Akogun refused his monetary inducement and promptly reported the matter to Ibafo and Algbon Police stations. When Chief Akogun refused Bimbo’s overtures, Bimbo started threatening Chief Akogun that nobody should go to the land as failure to heed his threat will be met with stiff resistance by his hoodlums.”
One of the company’s workers simply identified as Raimi who was one of the witnesses during the police investigation said he only escaped death by whiskers during one of the encounters at the site.
“I escaped death by sheer grace. I could have been dead by now but for the grace of God. I went to site that day but I did not know that there was any dispute on our site until then. Midway into our work about 20 thugs stormed the site and at that time I was resting under a tree when they attacked me,” he claimed.
Like Raimi like Kunle, another worker who claimed he was tortured by the thugs on the said day. According to him, “I was on an errand for our boss on the site when the people met me on the way. They asked me whom I was working for and I told them. That was when two of them started beating me until I fainted before they left me.”
Responding to the allegations, Managing Director of Bevillah Estates, Mr.AbimbolaBabatunde, laughed off the claims of the company.
While describing them as frivolous and unfounded he said, “The man (Mr.Adejumo) is just lying. He is a known liar. We are too responsible to be sending thugs after him as he claimed. Let him go and prove his case in the court and stop peddling rumours against.
Meanwhile, residents of the community has called on the government to come to their rescue, adding that if urgent steps are not taken, the developing scenario at could degenerate to absolute lawlessness unless relevant security agencies nip the crisis in the bud and resolve the matter.
SOURCE: THIS DAY
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