…Accuse Zone 2 Police of complicity
The Ominiha and Shosoyan families of Ibeshe in Ikorodu have cried out to the Inspector General of Police (IG) Mohammed Adamu to rescue them from hoodlums led by an alleged notorious land grabber Kamurudeen Lamina alias Sir K, who also has several murder cases hanging over his head.
The families, who also appealed to the Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, accused policemen at Zone II headquarters in Onikan and the Monitoring Unit Ikorodu of aiding Lamina, said to have unleashed terror in Ikorodu, Ogijo and other Lagos-Ogun border communities since 2005.
They also appealed to Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun to come to their rescue by ensuring that land grabbers hiding in those border towns and unleashing mayhem on helpless residents were flushed out.
According to the affected communities, at the last count, Lamina and his gang had invaded 37 communities with more than 100 thugs on ground in each of the villages.
Lamenting that the police seem helpless and incapacitated to bring the alleged kingpin and his gang to book, given the scale of violence that has been unleashed on the helpless communities, they have appealed to government to wade into the matter.
According to the families, who spoke through their lawyer, Adefolaju Oloko, their outcry followed Lamina’s forceful and alleged illegal encroachment on their 138.70 acres of land, at the instance of a family that has no claim to the land.
Their worries, the families narrate were not unconnected to several killings and maiming of innocent people for over a decade by land grabbers which has forced many of their victims to desert their homes and respective properties.
Narrating their travels in the hands of the criminals, one of the families, who was identified as Mark Wale said: “We have been living in fear for more than a decade in Ikorodu. One day there is peace and the next day, land grabbers will unleash terror, clashes.
Nine years ago, land grabbers unleashed mayhem in Ikorodu and raided about 37 communities killing and maiming people. In 2005, Igbo Olomo, a boundary community between Lagos and Ogun states, was raided and the invaders displaced the people. In 2006, it was raided the second time. After the Mushin Ogijo community’s attack, Isiaka Tamori and Muhammed Yau, a hired labourer, were gruesomely murdered.
“The carnage in Igbodu community led to the death of 78-year-old Kokumo Hassan who was strangled, while 13-year-old Nike Ajayi was allegedly raped to death. One of the victims, Jubril Hassan, who escaped the terror gang, ran to the police to seek help, but the police arrested him and turned him from a complainant to a suspect, until the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) rescued him.
“On the strength of the advice of the DPP, the DC Panti, Lagos, released the duo and the case was subsequently taken to Zone II, Onikan, and, to the utter disbelieve of stakeholders, Lamina was only made to sign an undertaking and he was let off the hook.
“All these attacks have been linked to Lamina and his boys. In some, he was directly involved and in others, his boys did it. In each of those raids, he deployed at least 100 thugs to assault and terrorise people from their rightful properties. He has been arrested several times but each time, is curiously released back to the society to continue his criminality.”
Wale said the victims had in their tortuous quest for justice sent petition in November 2008 to then IG and also written rights activist Falana & Falana’s chamber for intervention.
Timeline of Attacks
In the appeal, it was alleged that the gang launched themselves on the path of bloodletting and wanton destruction of life and property on December 3, 2005, following the invasion of lgbo Olomu, Ogun State, with the aim of dislodging residents from their community and ancestral land.
Not done, on March 18, 2006, the rampaging gang, allegedly under the guidance of Lamina, invaded to Mushin-Ogijo the second time, more vociferous than before. In a commando raid, they stormed the sleepy community with 18 busloads of thugs and by the time dust settled, huge casualties had been recorded. lsiaka and Yau were gruesomely murdered.
The petitioners also alleged that the theatre of carnage and destruction moved to Igbodu community on October 4, 2007. They claimed that Lamina was the mastermind of the mayhem that led to the death of 78-year-old Kokumo Hassan. Reports said the old man was strangulated while 13-year-old Nike Ajayi was raped and she eventually died at the Ijede General Hospital.
Another victim was Pastor Samuel Olawale Hassan, whose car was vandalised and destroyed, while his office and house were burgled. For his brother, Jubril, it was an escape into danger. To his chagrin and utter disbelief, the police to whom he ran to for help at Igbogbo Police Station turned the case against him and his brother.
They were charged with criminal intent, robbery and unlawful possession of firearms. Respite, however, came their way when the DPP of Lagos State advised that the facts did not suggest they committed the crime for which the police charged them, allegedly in connivance with Lamina.
On the strength of the advice of the DPP, the DC of Panti, Lagos, released the duo and the case was subsequently taken to Zone 2, Onikan, and, to the utter disbelieve of stakeholders, it was reported that Lamina, the prime suspect in the matter, was only made to sign an undertaking and he was let off the hook.
In their quest for justice, which has in more ways than one been tortuous for the victims, they had on November 27, 2008, in a petition by Falana & Falana Chambers, appealed to the then IG for redress.
In the petition, Nurudeen Sanni, Lukmon Anipole, Adebola Kajubo, Ibrahim Orinsolu, Adewunmi, (aka Jaladugbo), Adewale (aka Etunrenren), Sani Adefemi (aka Scubby) and others at large were listed as those who accompanied Lamina to invade Mushin Ogijo.
Also, the community was able to get the AIG of Zone 2 to deploy detectives to investigate the alleged criminal activities of Lamina. Investigation commenced in July 2008 and in his alleged desperate bid to scuttle the investigations, Lamina was said to have run to the heads of the family of the complainants, Pastor Olawale Samuel Hassan, Jubril Hassan and Mrs. Iyabo Kawojue, mother of Nike Ajayi, the girl that was raped, and asked for an amicable settlement.
After a lull in action, on May 1, 2014, the gang was said to have unleashed mayhem on Pakisha community. The Pakisha invasion was carried out by thugs alleged to have been led by Mukaila (aka Actor), Jordan and Stainless, all actng under pseudonyms, who used assorted weapons to maim and kill.
During the attack, Adeolu Allen and Jamiu Sakat‘iyau met their untimely death when the thugs hacked them to death with machetes. According to the community, David Alao is still missing, while the only witness was inflicted with severe injuries that have left him maimed for life.
The petitioners further alleged that since he could not stop the courts from preventing the police from bringing him to justice, Lamina allegedly plotted a jailbreak in May 2013, which led to the escape of remanded suspects from Sagamu Prison, Ogun State. They identified the escaped accomplices of Lamina as Segun Adebayo, Bukola Durosinmi and Wale Ikujini. The jailbreak, which was also allegedly effected by Adigun Nice, one of the purported henchmen of kingpin, prompted another petition to the then IGP on June 17, 2013.
Aside from the petition, they also noted that a court of competent jurisdiction, in suit FHC/AB/CS 16//2011 had also in a ruling delivered at the Federal High Court Abeokuta by His Lordship, Justice A.T. Lamina, declared that it would be a dangerous precedent to hold back or restrain the IGP and the anti-robbery squad, SCID, Abeokuta, from carrying out their lawful duty of arresting Lamina in the face of the overwhelming evidence against him.
Apparently, the affected communities are not the only ones who are fed up with the reign of the land-grabbers and their continuous brush with the law, as retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Joseph lyamabo has severally lent his voice to the cry for justice. On the strength of his petition to the authorities, which was acted upon vide correspondence CB7000/lGP/SEC/Vol. 227/248, dated March 4, 2008, the retired AlG complained in clear words of the obvious unholy alliance between Lamina and the police.
In the petition, they said nothing could be more incriminating than Lamina’s admission of complicity in the attack on lgbodu. The communities alleged that the police have been conniving with land grabbers to truncate investigations, including a directive from the Police Service Commission, vide PSC/PUB/D/2972/l/10, dated February 30, 2011, sent to then IG.
Another strident cry for justice from the law firm of Falana & Falana Chambers, which was one of the numerous correspondences to the police authorities to bring Lamina to justice, was contained in a letter dated August 25, 2009, which prompted the Presidency to give a stern directive to the IG on the matter.
The IG promptly complied by setting up a panel, headed by ACP Elumelu, to thoroughly investigate the numerous murders allegedly committed by land-grabbers and conclude on the matter, but since then the panel seems to have vanished.
In the same vein, the attack on Shimawa was credited to land grabbers, when they allegedly sent thugs to invade the community. The land grabbers seemingly threw caution to the winds as they sacked the community following disagreements with the Wonpori family over the family’s termination of an earlier contract with one of them. Three people were confirmed dead in the course of the attack: Akeem Odegbaro, Fatai Adeleye and Adebisi Adelakun.
Some of the hoodlums deployed to cause mayhem and their leader, Sotonwa (aka SP), were arrested but nothing much has been achieved, even when a witness (names withheld) was able to prove, beyond reasonable doubts in the course of police investigation, how Akeem was butchered.
The complicity of the police was evident in the witness account deposed in respect of the invasion of Igbo Olomu. The witness gave a graphic description of how policemen wearing vests of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, Lagos, rode into Igbo Olomu with the invading thugs to unleash terror on the community.
He was victimised and brutalised almost to the point of death for telling the truth. In a sworn affidavit deposed to at the High Court of Lagos State, lkeja, on June 2, 2009, the witness, Adejumo, affirmed that he saw the mastermind in a heated argument with lsiaka Tomori, shortly before the former brought out a gun and shot the latter at close range.
According to Oloko, the tales by the victims of the various communities and the seeming incapacity of the police to bring Lamina to justice had forced the Ominiha and Shosoyan families of Ibeshe to cry out since the land grabbers have brought their murderous attacks on their ancestral land.
Already, Oloko said the families’ property development partner Charles Nwadiani, who has been at the forefront of the struggle against the land grabbers was being hounded by policemen conniving with Lamina to take over the land.
He said rather than investigate the various murder, criminal allegations against Lamina by aggrieved victims, policemen from Zone II stormed Nwadiani’s house on July 12, with intent to forcefully takeover the land and carted away N20million property development money and other valuable documents.
He said the raid of his house followed a concocted petition allegedly written by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikorodu Branch accusing Nwadiani of being a fake legal practitioner, an allegation he said was unsubstantiated.
The lawyer lamented that no formal invitation was extended to the developer before the raid of his home and leaking of same to the press, adding that Nwadiani was on his way to Abuja when the incident took place.
“The intent was to forcefully take over the land and the subsequent raid of our client’s office while he was away in Abuja wherein, the sum of N20million meant for property projects of our client’s company, was carted away alongside other sensitive documents. The allegation against him is not armed robbery, cultism, murder nor capital in any form yet they stormed his house as though they wanted to kidnap him. Then, the concocted petition sponsored by Lamina and his collaborators, is being handled by a tainted policeman we have earlier petitioned the IG about.”
Petitions to IG
On the numerous petitions sent to the IG by the respective communities, a senior police officer who pleaded anonymity, said the IG had received petitions and counter petitions on the activities of land grabbers in Ikorodu and they are thoroughly investigating them especially those indicting the police.
“The police high command is aware of what is happening in Ikorodu, Lagos. The IGP has received petitions on the activities of land grabbers and also allegations against some serving and retired policemen. The petitions are saying the same thing. They border on terrorism, cultism, malicious prosecution, unlawful use of firearms and ammunition, theft, threat to life and conducts likely to cause breach of public peace.
“The IG directed consolidation of some of the petitions which were referred back to the AIG Zone II for investigation. But with grave allegations against the Zonal command, some of the petitions were referred to the IG Monitoring Unit in Abuja for detailed investigation.”
Also, in a letter signed by the Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, ACP Idowu Owohunwa, he stated that: “In view of the forgoing, the IG has directed that the two petitions be consolidated and conclusively investigated by the AIG of Zone 2, Lagos, who is to finish detailed report accordingly. This is in order to discourage abuse of police process by parties in a complaint.
However, Lamina denied all the allegations insisting he was neither a murderer nor land grabber as being alleged.
He said: “I am not a land-grabber but a property developer, car dealer and hotelier. I am not into land grabbing. People meet me always to help them to develop their lands. The problem is that people are jealous of my progress. They want to kill me and take over all the properties that I am managing.
“One of such persons carrying fake news about me is Mr. Charles Nwadiani. My problem started when a family who gave him a land to develop took it from him and gave it to me to start managing for them. Since then, I have not had rest. Every year, he and his accomplices cook up one story or the other to rope me in. There was no allegation they did not make against me. They said that I killed, maimed and even raped a 13-year-old girl. They said that I am a jail breaker.
“There is nothing they have not done to frustrate me out of business but I always come out clean. In 2010, my mother was kidnapped in my town in Ogun State. They demanded for ransom and I paid N15 million to secure her release. When some cult groups killed and maimed themselves during a festival in Ogun State, they accused me of being responsible and I spent three years doing the case. In 2013, I was doing my child’s naming when operatives from the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) came to pick me that I killed someone. They charged me for an offence I did not commit; yet I came out clean.
“They have come again this year. They are using a retired commissioner of police to fight me. They know I did not commit any crime. All they are doing is to force me to leave my business for them but my saving grace is that there is the Law. Each time they falsely drag me to the police or the court, the police hierarchy would discover that my hands are clean and the DPP would exonerate me.
Come to my office, it is like a marketplace. People come to beg me to help them to develop their areas. I do not grab land and I do not use thugs. Let the police come and do thorough investigation and see who is responsible for all the allegations. One of them has been charged to court for impersonating a lawyer. I have been in this business for over three decades and no one can frustrate me out of the business.”
By and large, the communities have called on the IG and the government to come to their rescue and find a lasting solution to the menace of land grabbers, occasioned by wanton killings, maiming and destruction of properties.