FORMER PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA, OLUSEGUN OBASANJO STORMS ISHOFIN VILLAGE TO SETTLE LAND DISPUTES
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Balogun Owu, stormed Ishofin, an ancient Owu village, near Papalanto in Ewekoro local government of Ogun State, penultimate Wednesday, to prevent a civil strife and bloodletting over land dispute.
There has been palpable disquiet in Ishofin and surrounding villages over activities of land speculators who on daily basis invade the villages with dangerous weapons to forcibly occupy other peoples’ land.
Despite the provision of the subsisting laws of Ogun State against forcible occupation of landed properties, which proffered a 21 year jail term for anyone found guilty, the incidences of land grabbing and threat to life and property on land issues remain rampant.
The Akinale Mediation Centre, now epicentre of land dispute resolutions in the corridor, has requested the intervention of Balogun Owu and whose designed socioeconomic empowerment programme for the Owu rural populace, might be impeded in the absence of peace in the land.
The premises of the Anglican Church, Ishofin was filled to capacity to hear Chief Obasanjo admonishing the community to give peace a chance by staying off the criminality of land grabbing and other activities that could breach peace in the area. Balogun reminded the community of the provisions of several extant laws that forbid crimes associated with land grabbing and advised them to live in peace.
Chief Simeon Oluwole Kehinde, Baale Ishofin and Hussein Sulaimon Adelani, a descendant of the founder of the village, reeled out the atrocities of serial land grabbers who constantly stormed the village to beat, maim and harass innocent people to annex other peoples land for immediate sale. They further alleged the connivance of the Police who, often arrest bona fide land owners on spurious petitions by land agents, thus creating space for the land grabbing exercises.
Chief Obasanjo who was accompanied to the village by Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, Towulade Akinale and Oba Rasaak Jimoh Famuyiwa, Onipapa of Papalanto, gave a stern warning to the land agents to desist from their illegal activities, stressing that any of them caught in the act would face the wrath of the law. Balogun further advised that only an accredited family head is recognised by traditional land ownership regime to consign family land and that all land transactions short of legal accreditation, would be voided.