Residents and landlords of Ofada and Mowe in Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area, Ogun state, southwest Nigeria, are now living in fear following the invasion of the once peaceful community by land grabbers laying claim to the vast acres of land in the area.
They also served quit notice.
Speaking with P.M.NEWS in his palace, the Olu of Ofada land, Oba Rabiu Adewunmi, alleged that imported thugs from Lagos invaded and terrorised the people of the community despite an injunction pending at the Appeal Court, Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State.
The monarch said that hoodlums wielding dangerous weapons recently took over a Tipper park and Folakan junction, the two points that lead to the community.
He said that on 18 September 2012, some people started pasting quit notice on their walls , giving them 21 days ultimatum to vacate their properties, even when they have appealed a judgement and got a restraining order from the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ogun state, following an undertaking the Fletcher family signed with members of the community not to jeopardise the appeal of the judgement before the Appeal Court in Ibadan.
The monarch added that they have started chasing people from building sites, while the community’s livestock like goats and rams were being killed.
The quit notice reads in part: “This is to inform members of the public that the Fletcher family are the land owners of all the vast acres of land in Ofada, Mowe, Obafemi Owode LGA of Ogun State via judgement of the Owode Customary Court suit No 119/1959 and High Court judgement of Ogun State, suit No. AB237/2008 by Justice N.I. Saula, all which are particular and delineated on plan by licensed surveyor.
“The members of the public are hereby warned to desist from buying, leasing, alienating, trespassing or in any other way dealing with the said land without the authority and the consent of the agent/solicitor to the Fletcher family and all illegal occupiers with appurtenance on the land are requested to come in their own interest with their documents to our office within 21 days. He who owns the land owns everything therein.”
The Olu of Ofada said this action was contrary to the appeal/motion filed by the community and which was listed for hearing before the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division, on 16 May, 2012 and adjourned till 16 October, 2012 for further hearing.
The community in a petition/save our soul letter sent to the governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, requested for the deployment of adequate policemen to Ofada, to prevent any form of invasion and also restrain the Fletcher family members and their agents from taking any action on their purported judgement pending the determination of all legal processes already in motion.
The petition signed by all the nine chairmen of the zones that comprise the community reads: “We write on behalf of the entire people of Ofada town and its immediate environs, to bring urgently to your attention, a violent invasion of Ofada town by certain people posing as agents of the Fletcher family, who claim to be the owners of the vast acres of land in Ofada, Mowe, in Obafemi Owode LGA.
“On Tuesday, 18 September, 2012, at about 12 noon, a group of heavily armed men, with guns and machetes entered Ofada town, pasting notices on walls of buildings within and around the town, with claims that they are the real owners of all the land.
“As a result of this intrusion and due to lack of adequate security for lives and properties, the community feels threatened and it is getting agitated, with the mind of defending their families and properties, which may lead to break down of law and order.
“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, and your known zero tolerance stance on issues bordering on illegal and violent land acquisition, we seek solace in your Excellency to save the good and peaceful people of Ofada town from these hoodlums,” they wrote.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Chairman Ofada Community Development Association, CDA, Shola Reuben, said the Fletcher family is not only fighting the king alone but Nigerians at large, adding that all the tribes in the country are residing in the community.
Speaking with our correspondent on the development, the Solicitor to the Fletcher family, Adekunle Olufunmilayo ESQ, said all the allegations that the family is using hoodlums to terrorise members of the community were mere propaganda to get people’s sympathy just because the court judgement did not favour them.
“I’m not aware of that, what am aware of is the fact that the Fletcher family got a judgement that they own all the vast acres of land in Ofada and Mowe in Obafemi Owode LGA. It’s not a matter of using thugs on them. We are not using hoodlums to terrorise them as alleged.
“That is expected and there will still be a lot of misinformation from them to smear the good image the family has built over the years just because the court judgement did not favour them. That is why they resorted to calling the Fletcher’s family members hoodlums,’’ he said.