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Land grabbers sack monarch, landlords, tenants from Osun communities

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Hundreds of residents of Omu-Ilase and Koka communities of Obokun Local Government Council of Osun State have been rendered homeless after they were sacked by some armed land grabbers.

The displacements of these residents including the traditional ruler of Omu-Ilase community, Oba Amos Oparinmade was said to have followed purported court judgment granting ownership of the land to the Agbaje family after a court tussle between siblings in the family.

The Guardian gathered that about 20 years ago, the oldest of the family of the land grabbers, Moses Agbaje had sold many portions of land to residents of the state before his younger siblings identified as Sunday Agbaje, Adeniran Agbaje, Suleiman Agbaje, Ademidun Agbaje, and Poju Agbaje dragged him to court for selling their father’s land without their consent.

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The younger siblings were alleged to have succeeded in securing the sold lands in court. To this end, there was pandemonium at Omu Ilase-Ijesa and some parts of Koka communities, where the Agbaje’s land purportedly ends, on January 17, 2020, when the land grabbers, who were allegedly accompanied by policemen and armed thugs sacked the monarch, many landlords and tenants from their homes.

It was gathered that the land grabbers with the support of the hired armed thugs allegedly broke into the community’s palace, chased Oba Oparinmade, his wife and children out and removed the palace roofing sheets completely.

The invaders also torched other houses in the communities in the evening of that day, chased the occupants out and locked the buildings.

It was gathered that some landlords and residents, who tried to resist the land grabbers during the operation, were assaulted with some sustaining injuries during the melee that broke out in the sleepy communities. Omu Ilase-Ijesa and Koka share boundary with the Osun State University main campus in Osogbo.

When our correspondent visited Omu Ilase-Ijase community, it was a ghost of itself as few residents were sighted. Our correspondent also sighted some fierce-looking thugs who manned the main road that leads to the community.

One of the landlords in the community, who spoke with our correspondent said the few landlords and residents that were remaining in the community had paid the land grabbers a sum of N20,000 they requested after sacking them from their homes.

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The landlord, who refused to mention his name for fear of being attacked, said: “it was like a war when the Omo Onile (land grabbers) invaded our community. They did not notify us before. I for one was not aware that the land I bought had been an issue in court. We just discovered that there was confusion in the community and some people were running helter-skelter when the land grabbers came with policemen and thugs who were carrying guns and cutlasses.

“They sacked everyone, assaulted some and locked our houses. On the night of that day when these Omo Onile noticed that so many families did not have any other place to sleep, they asked us to pay the sum of N20,000 each so that they would open our houses and allow us to stay for some time.

“ I and others paid and ever since the invasion, every resident has been living in fear. These thugs they brought have been living with us and monitoring the community to ensure that no one gains access into their homes. Even our traditional ruler was not spared. We want the government to come to our aid because we have evidence of buying the land and now the same family wants to take it from us forcefully,” the landlord said.

It was observed that churches, mosques, schools, and houses that were shut in the community were marked with “Possession Taken HTC.”

Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone, the community monarch, Oba Oparinmade, cried out to the government to come to his aid and that of his subjects.

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The traditional ruler said he and many residents of his domain had been rendered homeless after the invasion by the land grabbers.

Oba Oparinmade said, “I want Osun state government to help and save my community from this attack and harassment. These Omo Onile invaded us without notice. They beat my people and molested us. They parked the belongings of some residents during this attack in the name of executing court order.

“I think they should have notified us even after the purported court order. They invaded my palace, sacked me and my family and also removed the roofing sheet of my palace right before my eyes. Since I left the palace, I have been hiding from one hotel to the other and I have not been able to live together with my wife and children.

“I cannot even guarantee the safety of my property, my documents and my wife’s golds in the palace. These people (land grabbers) have gone beyond what laws said. They started collecting N20,000 from residents to allow them to sleep in their homes; is this extra money for the land they have bought or what? This is day light robbery!

“This land was sold to people by the family head of Agbaje and now the siblings and the family head sacked us from our homes,” the traditional ruler explained.

Meanwhile, efforts by our correspondent to contact the Agbaje’s family were not as successful as the telephone line of Mr Moses Agabje was not going through.

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