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Save Us From Land Grabbers, Oki Residents Beg Makinde

LANDLORDS, residents and owners of properties in Oki, a community in Egbeda Local Government Area of Oyo State, have cried out over the emergence of some individuals whom they described as land grabbers who have besieged the community for the past few months.

The community, located along Iwo Road in Ibadan, the state capital, harbours close to 30 autonomous communities and zones within which there are more than 3,000 houses, commercial structures and other properties, including undeveloped pieces of land.

All of this has reportedly attracted some people who are now claiming to be original owners and making violent attempt to exercise certain rights.

When Tribune Online visited some parts of the community on Friday, most of the residents who spoke on condition of anonymity accused members of a certain family of being behind the crisis.

They accused the individuals of employing the services of an Ibadan-based socialite who they described as a professional land grabber (ajagungbale), with whom members of the said family have been disturbing the peace of the community since 2020.

A resident, who gave his name as simply as Hashim, confirmed the development.

He said: “It is true that some impostors are laying claim to the ownership of the whole community and they have taken many steps, including violent attacks on innocent property owners to either extort them or take total possession of their properties. They root of the family in question cannot even be traced to Oki here.

“I am an indigene of Oki and I say that our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers sold a good portion of land here to the present occupants. To this end, we don’t have any right to the pieces of land again.

“But these miscreants who are not even related to us have now come around to forcibly take over properties that do not belong to them,” the 58 year-old man said.

Another resident, a woman who preferred anonymity, recounted her experience at the hands of the land grabbers who, she said, always moved round the communities with dangerous weapons and lay claims to undeveloped pieces of land which they either try to resell to the real owners or get new buyers for.

She said: “They mobilise thugs and policemen each time they want to encroach on innocent people’s properties. At the moment, they target undeveloped pieces of land. Recently, they made a pastor their victim when they seized his five plots of land and asked him to pay N7 million, in addition to a demand for ceding of half of the land to them. This was without any justification other than a verbal claim of ownership. We now live in fear because these impostors can do anything to perpetrate their nefarious activities.”

In an interview with Saturday Tribune, the president of Oki and Environs Landlords and Residents Association, Chief Ariyo Fadairo, described the situation as ridiculous and disturbing.

He appealed to the state governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, and other concerned authorities to intervene in the matter to forestall a breach of public peace “which might happen any moment from now since the land grabbers are resolute in going ahead with their plan to forcibly take over our properties.”

Chief Fadairo said: “In this modern age, we don’t understand how some unscrupulous people would just wake up from somewhere and start laying claim to other people’s properties. All property owners here have legal documents. Most of us have been here for more than 30 years.

“We are using this medium to call on our dear governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, to come to our rescue by stopping these miscreants. We also make a strong appeal to the Olubadan of Ibadanland, the Commissioner of Police as well as all the security agencies in the state to do the needful and ensure that we do not lose our lives and properties to land grabbers and enemies of peace.”

The affected areas include Oki, Oki Estate, Aba-Ada, Agbede, Oke-Ola, Odo-Oba, Oriowo, Eketa Omo, Papa Oki-Badmus, Ola-Oluwa and Isokan.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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