Home » Activists Chide Lagos Government over Activities of Land Grabbers in Ojomu Communities

Activists Chide Lagos Government over Activities of Land Grabbers in Ojomu Communities


The centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights (CHSR) is a service oriented non-governmental organization (NGO) registered as a corporate body to defend, sustain and promote the fundamental human and socio-economic rights of citizens and residents in any part of Nigeria as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. CHSR collaborates with other organizations committed to an ideal Nigerian society founded on participatory democracy, equity, fairness and rule of law. CHSR works with state and non-state actors, institutions and stakeholders in communities and neighbourhoods towards ensuring fairness, equity, justice and harmony with the view to curtailing threats to public peace and violent incidences. This press briefing is in furtherance of the mandate of CHSR and the overriding objectives of civil society stakeholders in the quest to defend victims of abuse of human rights and to promote the cause of justice and peaceful coexistence in the society. Gentlemen and ladies of the Press,Civil Society Stakeholders under the platform of Centre for Human and Socio-Economic Rights (CHSR) consider it pertinent to once again address the media on the very crucial issue of land grabbing in Lagos State and the inherent danger the menace portends for communal peace and sustainable development in Nigeria’s epicentre of commerce and economic activities. We cannot overemphasise the peculiar and strategic position of Lagos State in the development and continued peaceful co-existence of Nigeria. Drawing from the unpleasant lessons of divisive ethnic contentions that dominated the recently concluded elections on February 25 and March 18 in Lagos, it has become compelling to pay attention to issues capable of precipitating tension and violent clashes across the communities in the hinterlands as well as in the neighbourhoods of Lagos metropolis. More so, following our interaction with the media on Tuesday, April 18 regarding the unlawful activities of land grabbers in Ojomu Community (AJIRAN LAND) in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, we have been inundated with reports relating to recalcitrance of the main actors in crisis in the Ojomu community; including the unfortunate murder of a youth leader, one Sheriff Ishola Salami at MOBA town adjacent to AJIRAN. According to reports available to us, the late Sheriff Salami who was said to have been gruesomely murdered in broad daylight on April 18 had maintained firm opposition to the activities of land grabbers in Ojomu community. The Scourge of Land Grabbing in Lagos StateFollowing our press briefing on April 8, CHSR has received scores of telephone calls and representations from victims of land grabbing activities in Lagos State. Most complaints from Lagos State speak to the high level of impunity that come with land grabbing. Most victims are disenchanted as well as frustrated by the seemingly lack of commitment of the government to addressing the challenge headlong in spite of the establishment and operation of a Task Force established under the Law of Lagos State. Just like the various petitions by concerned community stakeholders and victims of unlawful activities of land grabbers in AJIRAN LAND provided insights into the magnitude of the challenge, CHSR also worried that land grabbers are becoming more entrenched than hitherto imagined in spite of a Task Force established to nip the menace in the bud. CHSR therefore wishes to demand priority attention from the Lagos State Government with the view to making all relevant agencies; particularly the Task Force on Land Grabbing more responsive to their mandate. CHSR is however more concerned that most of the land being forcibly confiscated by these land grabbers are legally and validly documented by the original owners most of whom are in possession of genuine Deed of Assignment and with full authorisation of the relevant families from whom the lands were purchased. To this end, we are concerned about the seeming complicity of certain actors in the Land Registry of Lagos State without whose connivance falsification or forgery of land documents by land grabbers and their collaborators could not be successfully carried out. We are however encouraged by the bold step taken by HIS ROYAL MAJESTY OBA RILWANU AKIOLU against land grabbing activities in AJIRAN Land and other communities in the Lekki axis of Eti-Osa Local Government Area. (Please refer to a letter titled REQUEST FOR SPECIAL URGENT INTERVENTION (REF: OOL/017/VOL.III/374 to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba on December 12, 2022. We are therefore calling on other traditional rulers under the platform of Lagos State Council of Traditional Rulers to rise in unison to denounce the activities of land grabbers in Lagos State. We wish to see concrete steps being taken as a matter of urgency by the Lagos State Government towards addressing the menace of land grabbers in the State. Unfolding Events in Ojomu community (AJIRAN LAND)As indicated in the preamble, certain events have unfolded in Ojomu community since our last press briefing. These events needed to be highlighted to further draw the attention of Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Police to the continued unwholesome activities of leading actors in land grabbing cases in Ojomu community which is capable of disturbing public peace. We are saddened by the killing, on Tuesday 18, April, of Sheriff Salami in cruel circumstances suspected to be a fallout of the deceased’s opposition to activities of land grabbers in the community. We call on Lagos State government and the Police to probe the death of Sheriff Ishola Salami (a.k.a AGBOWORIN) who was a son of late BASHORUN OF AJIRAN Land, Chief Ishola Salami. We demand justice for the deceased Sheriff Ishola Salami who left behind 3 daughters and an aged mother. Meanwhile, following our last press briefing, a protest was led by Wasiu Yekini Akinsemoyin a non-indigene of Ojomu community but an ally of Mr. Ahmed Tajudeen who has been fingered in the land grabbing cases by victims; some of whom have narrated their ordeals to CHSR. The protest staged behind the Palace of Oba of AJIRAN LAND, His Royal Highness, OBA AKINLOYE TIJANI SATERU II was without doubt aimed at further harassment of stakeholders and victims who have lodged complaints to CHSR regarding infractions on their rights and corresponding threats to their safety. (NOTE; We are sharing videos of harassment and intimidation of community stakeholders and members of the traditional institution orchestrated by these individuals.) Civil society stakeholders wish to make it abundantly clear that until and unless otherwise decided by Lagos State Government with corresponding amendment to statutes of Obaship and Chiefs, authorities over lands in the communities are vested in the traditional institution headed by legally recognised traditional rulers in the respective community. This is however without prejudice to relevant provision of the Land Use Act. We are therefore of the strong opinion that the case of AJIRAN LAND cannot be otherwise. We therefore do not see any convincing justification for the usurpation or subjugation of the authorities of Oba of AJIRAN LAND, His Royal Highness, OBA AKINLOYE TIJANI SATERU II by any group of individuals under whatever guise. CHSR is deeply concerned about the prevailing ugly situation in Ojomu community which evidently has undermined the legitimate traditional institution in AJIYAN Land leading to flagrant dispossession and confiscation of lands legitimately purchased and validly documented by innocent individuals who have been wantonly victimised with undue sense of impunity by Ahmed Tajudeen led land grabbing group in Ojomu community. More importantly, we are disbursed by the apparent silence of the Lagos State Government over the rather reprehensible situation in AJIYAN Land. We wish to therefore see Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu take decisive step, without further delay, to reaffirm the authorities of Oba of AJIYAN Land as the custodians of culture and heritage of the community as vested under the Lagos State Obas and Chiefs Law of 1981. We are convinced intervention of Lagos State Government in this regard is an immediate important step in tackling the menace of land grabbers in Ojomu communities. Our DemandsCivil Society Stakeholders under the platform of CHSR wish to call on relevant authorities; particularly the Lagos State Government to respond swiftly in curbing nefarious activities of land grabbers across the state. As noted in our earlier press briefing, continued unlawful activities of land grabbers undermine the spirit and letters of the Lagos State Property Protection Law which prohibits forceful and illegal occupation of land legitimately acquired by citizens. With respect to the prevailing situation in Ojomu community AJIYAN Land, civil society stakeholders under the platform of CHSR further demand as follow: Lagos State Government should protect legitimate authority of traditional institution in AJIRAN LAND against further reckless insubordination as well intimidation and harassment by Ahmed Tajudeen led land grabbers. Lagos State Government and Nigeria Police should put an end forthwith to the harassment of authentic allottees and rightful land owners and confiscation of lands in Ojomu community and by extension AJIRAN LAND. Lagos State Government should investigate allegations of forgery of DEED OF ASSIGNMENT and other land related documents duly authorized and signed with the authority of Ojomu family as well as Lagos State Land Registry. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu should give immediate directives to relevant agencies; particularly the Task Force on Land Grabbing with the view to putting an end to illegal activities of land grabbers in Ojomu community and other affected communities in Lagos State.Lagos State Police Command should investigate the incident that led to the murder of Sheriff Ishola Salami (a.k.a AGBOWORIN) on April 18, 2023 in the interest of justice and peace.Lagos State Council of Traditional Rulers should speak out in unison against the activities of land grabbers in their domains and by extension across communities in Lagos State Thanks for your attention! Yours in the Struggle, Signed Comrade Alex OmotehinsePresident CHSROn behalf of Civil Society Stakeholders

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