Land grabbers terrorise Ogun communities
Villages leave in fear, schools, shops closed
Fear has enveloped Onibuku, Baba Ode, NAHCO and neighbouring communities in Atan area, along the Sango-Idiroko Express road in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Council of Ogun State, following the onslaught of land grabbers in the area.
The land grabbers, sources said, invaded the area with dangerous weapons and were shooting sporadically to terrorise residents. Although no death was reported, a report has it that many people were injured on Tuesday as they scampered to safety.
For the hours the scuffle lasted, the area was tense, forcing parents to withdraw their wards from schools, while shops and other business centres were shut down, as residents ran for dear lives.
The Guardian learnt that shops, markets and other business points were still shut yesterday, while some schools offered skeletal services for the fear of being caught up in the melee.
A source said: “The land robbers have this evening again, gathered at their usual joint at Oju Alale, Baba-Ode. Apprehensive shop owners have shut down. Those working on their land are being asked to stop by the hoodlums. All these breach extant laws. ”
Also, The Guardian learnt that the scuffle is between two factions of land grabbers, popularly known as Omo Onile, who engaged themselves in a public brawl, brandishing dangerous weapons, which caused panic among residents of the area.
Recall that in May, some land grabbers attacked some policemen during their regular onslaught in the area, injuring some officials.A resident, Tolu Obadina, described the conflict as the result of an attempt by a faction to take over the control of some parcels of land, which the other faction resisted.
She said: “This madness has been going on for many years. We are all currently living in fear, we dare not open our shops, even some of our children did not go to school because we don’t know when they’ll strike again.
“This kind of unrest usually happens whenever the land speculators claim they have obtained court injunction to take over the area. When is this going to stop? How long are we going to endure this?”
Another resident, James Egbe, said he was surprised that for the period the unrest lasted, no security personnel, including the Nigerian Police Force were seen on ground to protect the people, adding that aside the financial losses incurred by the people for their inability to open their shops, people’s live are not safe because the land speculators might strike again, unannounced.
“We are appealing to the officials of the Nigeria police from the Ogun State to intervene in the crisis and prevent the mayhem from escalating. Their quick intervention would lead to restoration of law and order in the area.
“Worshippers have also been unable to gather for services. We are calling on the police to patrol the areas for peace to return to our community. The land speculators alleged that they are enforcing a court order for control of the land.”
When The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abimbola Oyeyemi was contacted via telephone, he claimed he was not aware of the incident.He said: “I am hearing it for the first time. I will contact the District Police Officer (DPO) and get back to you.”