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Land grabbers impersonate judgment creditors, demolish property, victims tackle Lagos task force

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Members of the Regun-Keyeolu Family have accused the Coordinator, Lagos State Special Task Force on Land Grabbers, Owolabi Arole, of conniving with certain persons to demolish structures on their land.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the land, known as Old Nitel in the Ikorodu area of the state, was acquired by the Federal Government for telecommunications development.

A member of the family, Rotimi Dada, said the Federal Government refused to return the land despite not using it for the intended purpose.

He noted that the land was commercialised, adding that in a bid to reclaim it, the family instituted a suit against the government and other interlopers.

“The case was ongoing when some people who were not members of our family, mobilised land grabbers to chase liquidators wrongly selling part of the land.

“After the invasion, these unrecognised family members, alongside the land grabbers, also started selling part of the land and we informed the High Court in Ikorodu.

“In suit number: IKD/595LMW/2018, Justice, L.B. Lawal-Akapo, gave an order restricting construction or dealings on the land and mandated the state Commissioner of Police to station armed policemen on the land to prevent entry of intruders,” Dada said.

Despite Lawal-Akapo’s order, Dada said the land grabbers, alongside the alleged family members, continued to sell and facilitate building development on the land.

He added, “The court was informed and an order was given to mark all the structures built after the restraining order. About 53 structures were marked and afterwards, the judge gave an order to demolish the marked structures.”

The demolition order given by Lawal-Akapo in suit no: IKD/595LMW/2015 and IKD/1000LMW/15, was sighted by our correspondent.

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However, another member of the family, Owoseni Atoloye, said plans were on to execute the order when alleged sponsors of the land grabbers impersonated the judgement Lawal-Akapo gave in their favour.

He said, “The people sponsoring the land grabbers impersonated our judgement and mobilised the police to demolish people’s property on the land. We petitioned the then Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, who invited all of us, and surprisingly, Arole also attended the meeting.

“At his office, Odumosu discovered that it was our judgement they executed but Arole insisted that the judgement was for all of us, including sponsors of the land grabbers. Odumosu expressed disappointment in Arole as only our family’s name was on the judgement.

“Another meeting was rescheduled, but Arole and the impostors never showed up. So, we wrote a petition for unlawful damage against them to the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon.”

One of the people whose property was demolished, Prof. Olayinka Adegbehinde, said, “My property on the Old Nitel land was not part of the ones marked for demolition, but other people that are not part of the judgement demolished it with a bulldozer.”

PUNCH Metro gathered that the FCID extended investigation to Arole and the people sponsoring the land grabbers, as the case was later charged to a magistrate’s court in Igbosere, Lagos.

However, Atoloye said the court proceedings were ongoing when the impostors filed a petition against the family and the police for breaching their fundamental rights during the investigation.

“We gave our defence before Justice A.F. Pokanu of the Ikorodu High Court. On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the judge ruled in our favour in the case with suit no: IKD/9520MFHR/2020,” he added.

The judgement read in part, “The first and third respondents (Regun-Keyeolu Family) acted on reasonable suspicion in making a report to the police and the fourth and seventh respondents (police) have acted within constitutional and statutory limits in making the lawful arrest, detention and charging the accused persons to court.

“Consequently, the applicant’s motion on notice for enforcement of fundamental rights lacks merit and the same is dismissed accordingly.”

Atoloye lamented that the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions, after the ruling, started circulating notices to take over prosecution of the unlawful damage case ongoing in court.

A letter drafted by the state counsel for the DPP, Mr A. Araba, on January 5, 2022, and another letter with no: LJF/710/IKD/01/01/09/2021, by the senior state counsel, O.A Ikwenobe, on December 8, 2021, confirmed the development.

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“It is our belief that the notice is an attempt by Arole, whose office is under the Ministry of Justice, to subvert justice.

“We believe in the integrity of the DPP and the Attorney-General of Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, to deliver justice in the matter,” he added.

Arole, when contacted, said, “I am not obliged to speak to the press. I have a superior as I work with the ministry of justice. The issue alleged by the family is unknown to me as I have never been involved in any matter related to that.”

Asked if he was invited by the police regarding the case, Arole said, “I have never been invited over a matter before FCID Alagbon.”

However, a spokesperson for the FCID, Alagbon, Niyi Ogundeyi, said Arole, alongside the suspects, were invited during the investigation.

Ogundeyi said, “When an invitation was extended to him (Arole), he told us to address the letter to the attorney-general, as he is not acting on his own.

“But in his response, he said they acted on the judgement the suspects brought without knowing that they were not beneficiaries of that judgement. He said it was in that light that they empowered the task force to come for demolition.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, Grace Alo, said she had directed our correspondent’s request to Arole and the DPP, but had yet to get an appropriate brief for a reaction.

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Gunmen kidnap, rape, kill poly student in Ogun

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A student of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, Ogun State, Happiness Odeh, has been murdered.

The victim, an ND II student of Mass Communication, was said to have won the Miss MAPOLY beauty contest on August 3, 2022.

She was reportedly kidnapped while on her way to Ipara, in Ode Remo of Ogun State, on Tuesday evening, by some gunmen who allegedly raped her before killing her.

The MAPOLY Students Union President, Sodiq Ajani, on Saturday confirmed the incident in Abeokuta.

Ajani in a statement he signed with the Public Relations Officer, Joy Okolie, said the deceased was kidnapped while she was going to visit a movie location.

“Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Students Union (MAPSU) announces the untimely death of Miss Happiness Odeh, a Mass Communication student of MAPOLY.

“According to reports, she was abducted along Iperu road to her destination. The deceased left Abeokuta three days ago to visit a movie location at Ipara, Ode-Remo, with the consent of her parents.

“Contrary to the rumours flying around, her death is not related to her status as the new Miss MAPOLY. She won the award on the 3rd of August and the movie location she attended has nothing to do with the beauty pageantry on campus.

“We commiserate with her family, friends and colleagues. May Almighty God grant us all the fortitude to bear this painful loss. Continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord,” the statement read.

The union president added that the murderers took away the victim’s phone.

The police, he said, had commenced investigations into the matter.

Ajani also said the body of the slain student had been deposited at the morgue of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu.

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Akwa Ibom Monarch Sentenced To Death

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The Village Head of Efen Ibom in Ika LGA in Akwa Ibom State, Chief Essien Matthew Odiong, has been sentenced to death by hanging.

The monarch, who stood trial on four counts of conspiracy, was convicted for the murder of one Udoma Udo Ubom.

According to the verdict delivered by Justice Edem Akpan of the Akwa Ibom State High Court, the monarch was found guilty of murder after the deceased was injected with a chemical substance which led to his death on the 26th of April, 2017.

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The events leading to his death were preceded by the late Ubom, being accused of wizardry by his brothers, who was then ordered by the Village Head to take an oath to swear in order to prove his innocence.

The court held that, “Having sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the monarch escaped from the village in 2017 and returned in 2019, when he was arrested by the Police.”

According to the court, the chemical substance administered via syringe on the deceased buttocks was his cause of death.

The judge sentenced the monarch, 82, to death by hanging for murder, seven years imprisonment with hard labor for overseeing an unlawful trial by ordeal and three years imprisonment for conspiracy with others who are yet to be apprehended by the authorities.

Odiong has 60 children with his 12 wives.

Daily Trust

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We Are Not Going On Strike, IPMAN Counters Threat By Southeast Faction

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has urged Nigerians to disregard the threat by some marketers in the South-East zone of shutting down depots in Calabar, Port Harcourt and Enugu.

Mr Edet Umana, IPMAN Chairman, Cross River, made this known in a statement on Saturday.

Umana denounced the purported threat of shutting down the depots due to alleged police harassment by some marketers in the zone.

He maintained that IPMAN members in the zone were not interested in causing further disruption in the supply of petroleum products following the challenges faced recently across the country.

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Umana said: “The leadership issue of IPMAN has been settled by a Supreme Court judgement delivered in Abuja on Dec. 14, 2018.

“The judgment read by Justice Musa Muhammad in suit No. SC15/2015 recognised Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo and Alhaji Danladi Pasali as National President and Secretary of IPMAN respectively.”

According to him, acting on this judgment, the police has invited some persons in the Southeast claiming to be a faction of IPMAN for a meeting over the issue.

Umana said the move which was directed by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Baba, was aimed at finding a lasting solution to the leadership tussle.

He said their failure to obey the judgment of the court prompted the intervention of the police based on the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami.

Umana enjoined IPMAN members to go about their respective businesses without any fear of intimidation.

He said the association would continue to support efforts of the Federal Government to ensure smooth supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country. (NAN)

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