Lawyer petitions police, army over alleged attacks
A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Dayo Abudu, has petitioned the police and the army over alleged attack at Oke-Eletu in Ijede, Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos.
The lawyer claimed that personnel of Operation MESA (OP MESA), made up of the Army, the Navy and the Air force as well as the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), raided the community, assaulted and dislodged persons from lands belonging to the community’s leaders.
Abudu said the community’s leaders were his clients and they include, Chief Nofiu Abiodun Kasumu, (the younger brother of the immediate past Eletu of Oke-Eletu Town, late Chief Surajudeen Adebayo Kasumu), Mr. Tunde Ajayi; Mrs. Felicia Nofiu; one Mr. Jude and Seun.
He alleged that the military and police acted in favour of a real estate developer, to forcibly take over his clients’ lands.According to him, thugs had been stationed and are dominating his clients’ community. He therefore urged the police and the military to come to their aid.
The lawyer wrote to the Brigade Commander, 9 Mechanized Brigade, Ikeja Military Cantonment of the Nigerian Army and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos, in three separate petitions dated June 4, June 9 and June 16, 2020.
The June 4 petition to the Brigade Commander, captioned ‘petition against Commandant of 174 Battalion and Officers of OPMESA forceful entry, trespass to land and aggravated assault occasioning harm’, claimed that OP MESA from I74 Battalion Command Odogunyan, Ikorodu,” interfered with land dispute in the area, interfered with police investigation, prevented police from investigating land grabbing cases and assisting land grabbers.
But the Police denied knowledge of the petition. The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Zone 2 Police Command, Hauwa Laraba said she had not come across any such petition. “Please find out from the Lagos State PRO. He might have the information or details of the case, if at all it is in Zone 2.
Also, Police PRO, Lagos command, Mr. Bala Elkana, said: “I am not aware of any such petition. As for OP MESA, I can’t speak for them. You can confirm from them if they have any such information.”
Responding to similar questions, the Army acknowledged the petition but said the community had indicated interest in settling the matter. Mr. Lohfa Tahbal, who received the petition on behalf of the Brigade Commander, said: “The people wrote for withdrawal of that case, that they will handle it within the community.”
The lawyer however, insisted that he wrote to the Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) Zone 2 on June 9 and 16, 2020 repeatedly claiming that the police were aiding several persons to dispossess the original landowners.
Abudu said the recent incident happened June 3, 2020, when two patrol vans of men and officers of OP MESA invaded his clients’ family land at Oke-Eletu town, along ljede road, harassed, intimidated, beat up and assaulted those working on the land.