Mixed Reactions Trail Allegations of Land Grabbing

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Ayodeji Ake

Mixed reactions are presently trailing the Oju-Ile family in Ibeju Lekki Local Government over a land grabbing tussle, pitting family members against each other with the Ibeju Lekki Local Government Chairman and member of the family, Hon. Kemi Surakatu thrown into the mix.

The family secretary, one Oludaisi Rasak has accused Surukatu of allegedly conniving with estate agents to sell the family land.

In a brief chat with Rasak, he said the Oju-Ile family has been experiencing some level of impunity over the family lands ever since Surakatu assumed office of the chairman of Ibeju-lekki Local Government.
He further alleged that the local government chairman was using his position to intimidate, impose and harassing family members.

He said: “We are here at Okerekere at Bolounpelu Village where we discovered people clearing the family land without the knowledge of the whole family members.

“And that is why we are here to know the truth about who is behind it. With me here are some of the family elders who can attest to the fact that, we did not sign any document to sell or for clearing purpose.”
Talking about the landmarks, he said “This land we are talking about is over 600 hectares of land and out of it, Assets Resources Management (ARM) is claiming part of the land.

“They said the land belongs to them. So, we had to take them to court to know how they acquired the land. And we have been in court since 2016. But to our surprise, we discovered that some people are still clearing in the name of ARM and also in the name of Landwey.

“The truth is that the family never signed any agreement with these two companies. I am the secretary of the family and I have never signed any agreement with anyone.”

Buttressing his claim, he also said “After the court in 2016, the court adviced we settle the matter amicably with ARM. So we now decided to go into agreement for settlement but the agreement for settlement have not come yet.
“While we are still waiting for the agreement of settlement, Shakiru Salami Baale of Bolorunpelu who was forcefully imposed as Baale of the community by honourable Semiu Kemi Surakatu connived with some people to start selling the family lands saying that nobody can challenge his authority and that whatever he says and do is final.”

When contacted, Sukuratu debunked the allegation of land grabbing, while stressing that he never connived with real estate agents nor was he involved in any sale of family land as claimed by the family secretary.
“The petitioner is one of the members of the family and one of us. I have never involved myself in the sale of land. I have never received anything since they have been selling.

“All the document of land is in his possession , so how is it possible to sell the land without his knowledge. So all he has been saying are false. The petition is baseless except he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Everything is his custody so nothing can be done without his consent” he said.

Head of the family, Mr. Yakubu Adeniyi, also noted that although there has been a chieftaincy rift in the family, no family member was however involved in the sale of land without the family consent, adding that the petitions are false.
Another family member, Mrs. Iyabo Busari said the family was not pleased with false allegation of land grabbing by Oludaisi.

She said: “We are the owners of the land. He is the secretary and his accusations are false. No one has sold any land so he should stop accusing anyone of land grabbing, rather he should give the family what belongs to us.”