My name is Dr. Prince Onwenieke Williams-Joel Esq. of Prince Joel & Associates. I and the firm jointly represent the interests of the Accredited Representatives of Okun-Obadore Community, the hereditary owners of the whole land encompassing the Okun-Obadore Village in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State.
For the purpose of clarity; to enable the valid and legal purchase of any land within Okun-Obadore community, six families forming the main pillars of the Okun-Obadore community must be ably represented by two individuals, making a total number of twelve who would each attest to the sale of such a land on behalf of their own immediate kindred. The twelve individuals who currently represents our client in the perfection and attestation of documents are hereby listed as follows;
ELDER MOSHOOD BALOGUN (COMMUNITY HEAD)
CHIEF NURENI OSHIBOTE (BAALE OF ELERANGBE)
CHIEF OLABODE OGEYE (BAALE OF OKUN OBADORE)
ELDER YAKUB OLOWU (BAALE OF OFIRAN)
ALHAJI SHOYE OGEYE (PRINCIPAL MEMBER)
MR. JOKU OLOWU (PRINCIPAL MEMBER)
ALHAJI S. OLA SHEBANWO (PRINCIPAL MEMBER)
MR. AYURI SHEBANWO (SECRETARY)
ALHAJI JASAU ASHANOGUN (PRINCIPAL MEMBER)
MR. SAHEED ASHANOGUN (PRINCIPAL MEMBER)
MR. LASAMI OLUWO (PRINCIPAL MEMBER)
MR. IDOWU OLUWO (PRINCIPAL MEMBER)
Sometime in March 2021, upon a routine inspection to the site, our client was accosted by heavily armed mobile policemen who dared to shoot on sight anyone found within a large portion of the property belonging to the community. Upon further investigation, it dawned on our client that over thirty-five acres of land out of our client’s total land had been encroached upon by one Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi and her husband Mr. Tunde Gbadamosi, owners of Amen Estate and Founders of Redbrick Homes Ltd, whom our client never entered into any form of transaction with. The only relationship our client had with Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi was in respect of the repair of a major link road connecting Okun-Obadore and other communities. The link road was in a deplorable condition at the time and Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi approached our client and offered to repair the link road. Our client accepted the offer as she pleaded that the link road is also beneficial as it will also serve as easy access to her other properties in another community.
Thereafter she completed the project and immediately began to encroach on our client’s land without any prior sale or permission. In view of this situation, our client instructed us to make a report to the office of the Assistant Inspector General, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, Ikoyi with a view to repel the illegal invasion of their property by parties unknown. Unfortunately, the trespass continued and Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi herself openly remarked that no one can remove her from the property as she possesses government contacts and influence. This statement clearly raises an issue; does being in possession of government contacts stand as sufficient proof of ownership and allow for the flagrant disregard of the right of our client to own immovable property in Nigeria where evidence abounds of complete historical ownership on the part of our client?
Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi and her company have turned themselves into a terror. She continues to threaten the Okun Obadore community as a whole and our client’s people live in perpetual fear. She mobilized mobile policemen who are always patrolling the community and repelling the law abiding citizens from accessing their ancestral lands. As a result of this, she has denied them access to their livelihood as most of the community people are farmers and fishermen. On the 20th April 2021, our client went on a routine patrol with some member of the community and a caterpillar with the intention of bulldozing a section of the land for clearing and eventual partitioning to new subscribers.
About one hour into the operation, Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi, in the company of heavily armed mobile policemen and paid thugs invaded the land and blocked our client’s caterpillar from further work. As a result of this action, elders and the whole Okun Obadore community turned out in huge numbers and inquired from Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi how she came to be in possession of the property she claimed belongs to her. The elders were particular on the fact that before you can own land in the Okun Obadore community, twelve signatories must sign before the land can be ceded. She was asked to mention who out of the twelve sold to her and her company. She could not mention a name to buttress her ownership of the land and only said that her lawyer is in a better position to answer the question. The elders turned to the lawyer who accompanied her and asked him how she came to own land without their express permission and sale. The lawyer was sympathetic and simply called for an avenue for amicable settlement. In view of the statement made by the lawyer, where no evidence was furnished as to substantiate Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi ownership of the property in dispute, does amicable settlement point to valid ownership of land or is it just a ploy to further cheat our client who never sold any land to her in the first place?
In view of Redbrick Homes Ltd and Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi inability to properly explain their ownership of the property in dispute, the youths of the community were riled but the elders sued for peace. However our client presented a comprehensive survey layout of the whole Okun Obadore community to Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi, highlighting the partitioned lands and their respective owners. At no point did the Okun Obadore community sell land to Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi or Redbrick Homes Ltd. From the survey plan of the Okun Obadore Community, it clearly shows that Okun Obadore Community share a common boundary with the Asanaogun Family/idado Community to the North and Eleko Community to the East. On one side where Okun-Obadore Community share a common boundary with Asanaogun family/Idado Community, the land comprising of thirty-five Acres, immediately after the boundary was sold to one Mr. Adeniyi (also known as Mide Favour). Next to Mr. Adeniyi is a land measuring twenty Acres and same was sold to Yoboro Real success. Immediately after yoboro Real success land is the thirty-seven Acres sold to PWAN Group. Looking at the survey plan clearly, Mrs. Gbadamosi claimed ownership of the whole land belonging to Mr. Adeniyi, Yoboro (real success) and extending into over seventy-five plots sold to Pwan Group.
All these aforementioned lands and a large chunk of our client’s land have been taken over by Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi. The facts are very clear as seen from the comprehensive survey plan drawn up. No mention of Red bricks Homes Ltd, Amen Estate or Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi. None whatsoever. The community through its secretary, Mr. Shebanwo Ayuri made a statement to that effect and totally denies selling any land within Okun-Obadore Community to either Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi or Redbrick Homes Ltd. Upon realization of these facts, Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi further mentioned that she has papers evidencing excision given to her by the government. Upon scrutiny of the excision papers, we realized that the excision in her possession covers Solu-Jegi Community alone and do not even include or involve Okun-Obadore Community.
It beats our imagination because solu-Jegi community being mentioned by Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi is a separate community on its own. Between solu-jegi Community and Okun-Obadore Community, there are over five communities as follows; Idado, Debojo, Igando but to mention a few and other smaller communities in between. The implication of same is that does the excision rights covering solu-jegi community extend wide over five communities and into Okun-Obadore Community? That is not true as an excision right can only cover a particular community and an application for excision can only be carried out by the indigenous people of a particular area intended to be excised. At no point did the representatives of Okun-Obadore relinquish their excision right or ownership to Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi and she is hereby challenged to proffer evidence in contrast to this statement made.
In view of the apparent threat being issued by Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi and her entourage, we were instructed by the owners of the affected land encroached upon by Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi and the accredited representatives of the Okun-Obadore Community to write separate petitions against Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi, her husband and Redbricks Homes Ltd (owners of Amen Estate), which we eventually did. The purport of the petition as written on behalf the Okun-Obadore community against her was to denounce her actions in total as it constitute a breach of the peace, criminal conspiracy, stealing, threat to life and criminal trespass. She threatened to deal mercilessly with the owners of the lands she encroached on.
Fast forward to the 26th April 2021, Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi came in the company of armed policemen and officials of the land grabbers task force. They came into our client’s community, erected signposts on their land and severely warned the villagers to steer clear. This is daylight robbery! The office of the Land Grabbers task force has a responsibility to ensure fair hearing, give the other party the opportunity to show proof of ownership. Our client was never given the opportunity to defend its ownership and signposts were erected on their own land. This is unjust and we totally frown at the conduct of the task force, who clearly has become a willing tool in the hands of unscrupulous elements like Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi and her cronies. We totally disagree with the conduct of the Land Grabbers Task force as their actions are unfounded, spiteful, prejudicial and preconceived.
To this end, we state for the records that Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi’s conducts are unbecoming and a threat to the peace of the Okun-Obadore community. The community is clearly not happy with the intermittent and steady presence of armed policemen who are regularly terrorizing them in their own community. As at this very moment, mobile policemen have been stationed inside the bushes and are chasing the villagers away. In view of this, there is a simmering rage engulfing the community and given the many security challenges being experienced in the country, we clearly do not wish for an escalation of hostilities as the community youths are becoming increasingly restive.
We immediately demand a stop to their activities as police itself do not have the constitutional powers to adjudicate, threaten or stand guard over land matters where there is no imputation of any form of criminality. In total, Mrs. Shade Gbadamosi attempt to encroach on our client’s property is a familiar procedure. She is well known for encroaching on community land, flaunting dubious government papers, with a view to eventual settlement. In this particular instance, our client is not willing to sell its land and we shall do everything within the confines of the law to thwart and repel this illegality as we do not wish to be a part of it.
In view of the above, we use this medium to appeal to the office of the Commissioner, ministry of Lands, Attorney General of Lagos state and the Governor of Lagos State to speedily come to our aid as matters are gradually being escalated. All our client require is for an impartial committee to be set up with a view to settling the disputes in a fair manner by reversion of our client’s land back to them. We shall go to any length to obtain justice in this matter and we hope that the spirit of the law be followed to the letter.