Residents of Ajegunle/Araromi community, Makun in Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State, whose houses were demolished about two weeks ago by the state government officials have pleaded for the intervention of Governor Dapo Abiodun.
The residents insisted that the land genuinely belonged to them and that they had genuine documents from the state government to back up their claims.
Addressing journalists in Abeokuta on Thursday, a representative of the community, Olufemi Olatunde Oguneye, alleged that the government demolished their houses after selling their land to a Chinese company for industrial purposes without paying them compensation.
Oguneye who described the demolition as a “rape of justice”, accused the government of demolishing 20 houses despite a court injunction restraining it from carrying out the demolition exercise.
He alleged that the demolition of their houses was a “deliberate attempt by the government to forcefully take over and allocate our inheritance to foreigners in the name of financial gain”.
He also lamented that the affected residents lost all their belongings worth millions of naira as the agents of government prevented them from removing their properties before commencing the demolition exercise.
“This is a rape of justice. Some of us cannot even claim our place of origin again, it is like we are being wiped off of the planet Earth.
“The unlawful acquisition of land and destruction of properties not only disrupts the lives of individuals and families but also undermines the principles of justice and fairness that our society is built upon.
“The demolition also underscores the flagrant disregard of the rule of law demonstrated by agents and agencies of government who are supposed to be respecters and defenders of law.
“As law-abiding citizens, we have tried to maintain peace and it was on this ground that we sought redress in a competent court of jurisdiction which granted us an injunction restraining the government from further action on the land. But the officials of government ignored this and threw the rule of law and court decisions into the winds.
“Despite documents given to us by these same government agencies and our massive support for Governor Dapo Abiodun since 2015, we are terribly pained that the only reward this government could give back in return for our support and loyalty is the destruction of our hard-earned investment and forcefully taking over our family ancestral land to gift to foreigner”, Oguneye said.
He said, “We have however heard from many people that Governor Abiodun is against land-grabbing, that he has promised to punish them. This is also a case of land grabbing that we want to believe the governor is not aware of. We hereby use this occasion to call for the governor’s intervention.
“Let Governor Abiodun set up a committee on this illegal demolition. Let our losses be evaluated and adequate compensation be paid back. Let our land be returned to us. It is our investment done legally under the law. Let them not use us as sacrificial lambs to please the Chinese, a foreigner”.
The Director General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Arc. Segun Fowora while reacting to the claims of these residents insisted that the government had broken no law in the demolition exercise.
Arc. Fowora described the victims as “illegal occupants” of government land, saying the government had given the residents repeated stop orders which they ignored.
“They have been given repeated stop orders, they have no ownership over the land, they have no documents and no planning permission.
“There was never a court order refraining us, nothing was served on this ministry on that particular site. They were told repeatedly by this bureau that they cannot build on the land that does not belong to them, but they continued to do so with impunity, claiming they know people at the top,” Fowora said.