Residents of Oke-Ira Community in Igbogbo-Baiyeku area of Lagos State on Thursday staged a peaceful protest to the Oba Adeboruwa Palace Igbogbo, demanding the intervention of His Royal Majesty, Oba (Barr.) AbdulSemiu Orimadegun Kasali, Adeboruwa of Igbogbo Kingdom, Council Chairman, Builder Olusesan Daini and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, over alleged illegal demolition of over 200 houses in the community, allegedly on the orders of the state governor.
The protesters who paraded different placards bearing various inscriptions alleged that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was quoted to have given formal directive for the demolition of about 200 properties worth billions of naira in the community, without any court order.
According to a resident and Secretary of the Oke Ira Family, Mr Shakiru Seidu, ‘we got wind of the planned demolition of our properties through unofficial sources and we swung into action by reaching out to the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Senator Tokunbo Abiru and Hon Jimi Benson for their prompt Interventions. But, efforts to reach the governor proved abortive only for our community to be invaded by a known cultist from Ketu who led the Lagos State Building Control Agency to carry out the nefarious act of wickedness’.
Speaking further, Seidu explained that the land in dispute was a subject of an ongoing litigation with Nichemtex Cooperatives and the case was adjourned to June 20.
He wondered why the Lagos State Government would allow itself to be dragged into a land disputes that is before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Parading the land documents before the general public, Seidu stated that, the family was in possession of all documents relating to the land in dispute, while alluding that Nichemtex Cooperatives was hiding under a Certificate of Occupancy fraudulently obtained from the state government to rob the family and residents of their properties.
The protesters urged Gov Sanwo-Olu to clear the air on the state government involvement in the demolition exercise and ensure justice is served, since the matter between the Oke Ira family and Nichemtex Coorpeative was still before the Court of competent jurisdiction.
It was gathered that the government’s team were accompanied by hoodlums, who arrived at Oke-Ira community with bulldozers on May 31 and started beating, harassing and extorting, residents before demolishing their houses. About 200 completed and uncompleted houses were said to have been pulled down by the government bulldozer.
The protesters brandished placards with various messages like, ‘Gov Sanwo-Olu has betrayed our trust!’ ‘The action of Sanwo-Olu led to loss of lives’ and ‘Gov Sanwo-Olu act now, we want justice!’
Others read, ‘Mr Governor, act now, Engr Omotoso brought Cultists to intimidate us’. ‘We are homeless with no where to sleep’, ‘Nichemtex C of O is not genuine and being challenged in court’, ‘Don’t toy with our thousands of votes Sanwo-Olu’.
The Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba Seniudeen Orinadegun Kasali has however appealed to the protesters to keep calm while he intervenes in the matter.
Similarly, the Executive Chairman of Igbogbo-Baiyeku LCDA, Hon Sesan Daini has appealed to the residents to maintain peace, promising to dig deep into the matter with the promise to report back to them in due course.