The residents of Agodongbon village, a community in Ikorodu, located behind Lucky Fiber Industries, has cried out for help after some people, claiming to be Lagos State officials, went on destruction spree of their homes on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.
The Baale of the community, Otunba Oluwole Sanni, informed Freelanews that the same set of people had stormed Agodongbon community in 2017 and 2019 and destroyed properties claiming Lagos State government had acquired the land.
“These people came in 2017 and without any form of notification or gazette, destroyed over a hundred houses; both the completed ones and those under construction.
“Residents in the community, including myself, tried to stop them but they came with a group of cult guys and touts. They macheted anybody that tried to stop them and so we had to runaway to save our lives.
Otunba Sanni revealed that not long after the demolition, one man, who was simply known as Peter, started coming into the community to map out the lands on which properties were destroyed and started allocating to individuals alien to the community. And when he was challenged, he claimed to be directed by one Mr. Hassan W.O.
“The Hassan in question is the man that has been leading touts and his gang, who claim they are from government to destroy properties and it is the same man selling the land acquired illegally, plot by plot.”
Explaining further, Baale said that the family had to invite their lawyer, who in turn wrote to the Lagos State government and the ministry of lands in 2019.
“The Roga Chieftancy Family owns the land, so the lawyer was informed and he wrote to the Lagos State government. They responded that the matter will be investigated even the Ministry of Justice, Directorate of Civil Litigation responded but no action was taken so we challenged them in court.
“Since then, we have been on the matter and we even had to drag Lagos State and the ministries involved to court. We were even in court on Tuesday, July 5 and the defendants’ lawyer didn’t turn up and so the judge adjourned till September.
Shockingly, the same set of people allegedly stormed Agodongbon the next day, Wednesday, July 6, 2022.
“They came in their hundreds with prisoners in uniforms, taskforce vehicles and some men believed to be cultists because they wore masks, tied red cloth to their wrists and had all sorts of dangerous weapons with them.
“They drove residents and people that opened shops away. I was about to go challenge them when one of them brought out gun that it was the baale he wants to gun down. So I joined my subjects and ran for cover,” Baale Agodongbon narrates painfully.
Otunba Sanni stated further that his house was demolished in 2017 but has since rebuilt it to shelter his family.
One of the residents, a woman, who was very bitter about the development said government cannot just enter into a community of people that voted them in and render them homeless in the name of acquisition without any form of compensation or re-allocation of lands.
“How possible is it for government as claimed by these perpetrators to just enter a village and demolish houses here? How is this place government land? Do they have any demolition order? They said Sanwo-Olu sent them. I don’t know how Sanwo-Olu will just asked them to come and demolish buildings here.
“They come here to demolish houses without any notification anytime they like and after they demolish houses here, they start selling the lands to individuals. We don’t understand how government would acquire lands and start selling them to individuals plot by plot. I now sleep in an uncompleted shop with my children and my husband is presently in hospital due to this matter,” the woman lamented.
Another landlord also has a bitter story to tell.
“I understand that whenever government acquires a land, what they do is build schools, hospitals and other social facilities for such community. And they do this after they have must have met with the family that owns the land self. This so called government officials just can’t to put sadness in this community and destabilised everyone and everything.”
A land buyer, Godwin Okolie, lamented bitterly over the demolitions of his properties without prior warning.
“I am an Igbo man. I bought thirteen (13) plots of land in this community and I have the Agodongbon Roga Chieftancy family receipts. I have already developed eight (8) plots of land and to my greatest surprise, I was called on Wednesday, July 16, to quickly come to my site but before I got here, all my properties have been demolished.
“I thought I was in a trance when I saw the projects that I borrowed money from the bank to embark on demolished just like that. I don’t know where to start from. I don’t believe that governor Sanwo-Olu gave this kind of order. He should please come to our rescue,” Godwin pleaded.
An estate consultant, Comrade Ayodele Akinwumi, who has been on the field in the Agodongbon village for about thirteen (13) years said the illegal seizure and destruction of landed properties by government is undemocratic.
“If it true that the people that came to destroy properties in this community are government, then I have never seen this level of undemocratic behaviour by any government before now. How can some people, who claim they are government representatives come to a developed village like this without any prior notice to destroy millions of naira worth of landed properties.
“We are in a democracy. If government wants to acquire lands, they ought to meet with the family who owns the land to dialogue. I dint believe that government will send officials without prior notification, to go and destroy a developing community. This barbaric act has rendered many family homeless in this rainy season.
“We should have humanitarian feelings in whatever we do because we will all leave this earth one day. If you go inside there, houses that have been completed are demolished. One of the victims is hospitalized because of shock after the building he just completed and moved into was demolished,” Akinwunmi lamented.
Another land owner, Pastor Agboola Israel, said after buying land in Agodongbon, his family and friends seeing how peaceful the community is engaged him as a middleman to buy lands for them.
“I got a call from a neighbour exiled in office, just a day after we went to court, that the same hoodlums that we instituted legal suit against have come to demolish houses again. By the time I got here, few houses belonging to my friends have been demolished and one of the building constructions cost nothing less than N30million.
“If it was government that sent them, there would have been a notice and that is why we are in court in the first place. So I am surprised that they can still come here to commit this havoc even when the matter is in Hon. Justice A.F Pokanu’s court.
“I learnt the caterpillar almost crushed wailing residents with the building. We demand Justice, we demand that Hassan and his cohorts be brought to book. We demand explanation on why government will demolish our houses without prior notice. It is land grabbers that I know used to do this kind of thing and this Roga family, since we started buying land from them, we don’t have such issues on their land so why will it be government that will render the people that voted them in homeless by using prisoners, cultists and police taskforce to intimidate us,” he cried.
Agodongbon Roga Family Lawyer, Otunba Ebiwonjumi Obatayo Esq, when contacted by our correspondent in his Ikorodu office said he was shocked that despite the fact that Lagos State officials could take bulldozer and begin to demolish, with impunity, buildings and structures without respect to the matter before the court.
“I wrote to the governor, to Attorney General of Lagos State, to the Commissioner for Lands and to the Land Allocation Committee asking why buildings and structures were demolished without any form of notice or gazette. I even went to the ministry myself and the woman I met there, after searching all the files said there is no gazette or any form of document indicating that the state government ordered the demolition of Agodongbon village.
“After demolishing some buildings in 2017 and 2019 and sent letters, the so called officials were seen selling and allocating the same lands to individuals and that is why my clients decided to sue them.”
According to the lawyer, the defendants lawyer came to court without any form of documentation to defend his clients and had to request for adjournment even though he knew that there is no legal document to back up his clients illegal acts.
“I am happy that the community has cried out for justice, and I believe that justice will be served accordingly eventually,” Obatayo, esq said.
Phone number provided
The community took a step further by providing the phone numbers of all the stakeholders involved as follow:
- W.O Hassan 08057036471. The Lagos State official who led the demolition team.
- Peter 08064177412. The surveyor allocating land to new individuals after demolishing houses build by original owners.
- Baale Agodongbon: Otunba Oluwole Sanni: 08023779792
- Lawyer Obatayo Esq.: Agodongbon Roga Chieftancy family lawyer: 08029061291