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Lagos family alleges police harassment over land dispute

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The heads and principal members of Omomunmi Oja Chieftaincy family of Oko Egan Alapa village in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos state have appealed to the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Inspector General of Police to come to their aid over relentless harassment by men of Zone 2 headquarters Onikan, Lagos.

The family in a petition dated March 27, 2020 signed by the head of the family, Baale Wasiu Shitta alleged that the police acting under the directive of the Registered Trustees of Ajah Community Development Association have vowed that there would be no peace in the community until their ancestral land is taken from them.

The family alleged that few days ago about 14 armed policemen allegedly from AIG Monitoring Zone 2, Onikan Lagos stormed the community thereby creating panic in the community.

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The family lamented that their ancestral shrine, as well as their farms, have been destroyed.  The family stated that men of the AIG Monitoring Zone 2 Onikan Lagos police have been threatening them with arrest if they do not vacate their family land and allow the Ajah Community Development Association take over their land.

They stated that they are the owner of approximately 58 acres of land with plan number LA/237/2007/107 A & B drawn by surveyor W. Adeniyi. They added that the land in dispute is subject of litigation in suit No EPD/7325/LMW/2018 pending before Justice Ganiyu Safari of the Lagos High Court, Epe division.

According to the family the suit is between Chief Wasiu Shitta & Another Vs Registered Trustees of Ajah Community Development Association & Governor of Lagos State & Attorney General. The family accused the police of using trumped up criminal allegations against them yet they refused to charge them to court.

“This is one of the spurious instruments used by Police under trumped up criminal allegations, which they refuse to charge to Court but intermeddled in an ongoing civil case pending before Hon Justice Safari of High Court Epe.

“These wanton display of naked power, needless attack and violent conduct must be discouraged. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) should send a clear signal that the law abhor same,” they said.

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They said it is unfortunate that officers compromise their oath as police officers and allegedly lend themselves to be used by Ajah Community Development Association. They urged the IGP to call to order these policemen who are on illegal duty on land dispute, which is already before the court. 

The family stated that the court had through an exparte application filed by their counsel, Babatunde Oshilaja, restrained the defendants in the suit and their agents from selling or erecting any fence/structure on the land in dispute.  

“Police authorities have allowed themselves to be used as surrogates by the defendants. The defendants are afraid of courtroom trial of the issues so they intent on stealing a match with the dubious assistance of the corrupt police officials whose predilection is to find fault where none exists,” they claimed.

The family stated that they became seized of the land in dispute through their progenitor.They added that their progenitor, named Oja was a great hunter who migrated from Iwo in the present Osun state around 1714. They appealed to the IGP to call men of the AIG Monitoring Zone 2 Onikan Lagos to order as the dispute is already before a court of competent jurisdiction.

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