Land Dispute: Oniba Family Urges Ambode to Enforce Court Judgement

Akinwale Akntunde

The Oniba of Iba kingdom, Oba Yushau Goriola Oseni has urged the Lagos State government to ensure compliance with a Supreme Court judgement on the ownership of its land at Ilemba Awori and Ilemba Hausa communities in Ojo town.

Oba Oseni and the Oniba Chieftaincy family accused the Elete family, a neighbouring riverine community, of trespass.
In a petition to Lagos State government dated April 18, 2017, the Iba kingdom urged the government not to encourage the conversion of their land by the Elete family, since the state government through its Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, were defendants in the suit no LD/1219/1974,FCA/L/108/79 and SC.24/1983 which was decided in Oniba’s favour by the Supreme Court in 1984.

The petition written by their counsel, Mr. Adetunji Orisalade was titled, ‘Unlawful Act of Invasion and Forceful Occupation of Ilemba Awori Town by the Elete Family Members and Attempt to Cause Breach of Peace’.

They stated that Iba town received information that the government had granted Elete family an approval for the installation of Elete as an Oba, adding that government also relinquished the two communities’ as territories to the communities.

According to Orisalade, the said communities traditionally belong to the Oniba of Iba in which he has always installed a traditional ruler (bale) in pursuance of the Oniba’s family ownership right over it.
Orisalade said the Elete family is the land owners among the clusters of communities, adding that their land is domiciled in the riverine.

He recalled how the Elete family once sued the Oniba of Iba over ownership of the said communities but that they were repeatedly defeated as the case dragged through the High Court until it was struck out at the Supreme Court in February 27 1984.

The petition reads in part: “That a family adjudged not to own Ilemba Awori and Ilemba Hausa by the highest court of the land cannot be granted same or made a chief or Oba over same by any executive fiat.
“It is instructive to note also that by virtue of the said judgement supra, the issue of the ownership of Ilemba Awori community and rights over the chieftaincy there have been permanently sealed and same found to reside in our clients.

“It is equally instructive to note that by virtue of the said judgement, the legally sanctioned authority to create chieftaincies within ilemba Awori and rule over same is the Oniba of Iba.
“However, it is sad that in spite of their active participation in the above cases which were even instituted by them, and the knowledge of the verdicts therein, the Elete family have been indulging in some unwholesome and unlawful act with a view to forcefully take over as one of the communities under the Elete family and rule their riverine communities therefrom.
“This is untenable in law, clearly wrong and most unacceptable to our client who shall equally and forcefully resist same.”

Orisalade said while the Oniba of Iba was not opposed to the creation of a monarch for Elete, it maintains that Elete should restrict its reach to their traditional riverine areas and not encroach on the disputed communities.”

Similarly, a letter dated April 21 2017 and signed by Orisalade Adetunji Taiwo on behalf of Oniba family, has been sent to Governor Ambode with the title: ‘Attempts at violating the judgment supra by official of the Lagos State Government.’

While the letter was copied to Governor Ambode; the petition was copied to the Governor of Lagos State; Office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; and the Commissioner of Police.

In his reaction, the Elete of Ete kingdom, Oba Nafiu Daoda Oduowo Iya, politely declined to comment on the Supreme Court judgment. He, nonetheless, absolved himself and his subjects of any wrongdoing.
However, one of the monarch aides, Abdulahi Adeyinka, said the monarch of Iba had taken the matter to the police and that it had already been settled there.

“This same petition was taken to Police Command at Area K Police along Lagos/Badagry expressway, where the Assistant Area Commander of the place invited both of us.

“Police said they could not intervene on matters bordering on boundary adjustment, moreso when the two parties are within the same Iba local government. The police have therefore advised that both parties should write to the Lagos State Ministry of Survey which is capable of producing boundary adjustment for both parties,” Adeyinka added.

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