By Christopher Oji

The Zone 2 Command headquarters, Onikan, Lagos has commenced investigations into alleged land grabbing deals in Okegun-Odofin via Elerangbe, Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The plots of land involved a total over 2,000 acres and the mischief is being spearheaded by a well-known land grabber who doubles as the village head with others at large.

The police have invited the alleged land grabbers, via letters, dated April 30, 2024, for interviews to unravel the circumstances surrounding the malicious damage of property, and the illegal perimeter fence on the said mass of land.

The village head was allegedly using a local vigilance group and some police officers to protect the grab, while construction of a new perimeter fence was ongoing. However, the village head has consistently denied involvement in the deal and had pointed accusing fingers at some officials from the New Town Development Authority [NTDA] as being the brains behind the takeover.

His claim, according to feelers, was that he was only contracted to supply over 50, 000 blocks, bags of cement, sand, labour and other construction materials to the site. The attempt to take over the entire mass of land, with the attendant destruction of over 800 houses that would follow and other undeveloped property in the area, has heightened tension with property owners vowing a violent showdown with the usurpers.

It was gathered that the violent showdown may lead to loss of  property and lives. The letters of invitation to the key actors in the crisis were issued from the office of Assistant Inspector General of Police, and signed by DCP Ajao S. Adewale, a deputy commissioner of police (ZCID), on behalf of the AIG Zone 2 Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos.

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A stakeholder in the community said the question begging for an answer was ‘how could the village tell house owners to take photographs in front of their houses and submit to him, to determine compensation when he’s not a registered valuer or representing the Lagos State government’s interest?’ The stakeholder said the village was also a supplier on the site.

A source close said: “It is now an open secret that there is more to it than meets the eyes; a developer is already in top discussions with the village head and his partner and others, to buy this mass of land from them with the connivance of some already compromised top government officials in Alausa, to help facilitate government allocation on the said property.

“It’s on record that a similar occurrence happened the same time last year, almost in the same area where one Abiodun Raji, a generator mechanic, was killed, his house destroyed with five other recorded deaths, paving way for Tiwa Homes and Garden, an Estate developer, to take over.

“Presently, the property is under sale by the developer. The land grabbers have made enormous wealth in the act while using the name and influence of a retired judge and a first class monarch in the Epe local government axis, to hoodwink unsuspecting victims on property sale, despite having several court cases on land matters hanging on his neck in various courts.”

The source said the property/land owners were appealing to Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu, to immediately investigate the matter at this early stage, to rein in government officials involved in the alleged land allocation scandal, to serve as punishment and deterrent to others, while bringing all the alleged grabbers involved to book.

“It is also a thing of interest that the police zonal command would do a discreet, thorough investigation and carry out, if need be, necessary visits to government parastatals, to ascertain and verify all documents tendered to prove or disprove claims, in the interest of fairness, equity and justice, so that peace would return to the area in earnest. The hope is that the matter will not be swept under the carpet, since the next police interrogation comes up on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, involving all concerned parties to the crisis.”