Landlords and residents in the Isheri and Olowora areas of Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area of Lagos State were thrown into confusion on Monday when a family allegedly mobilised policemen to execute a High Court order which granted them rights to landed property in the communities.
It was gathered that some hoodlums who accompanied the policemen invaded the areas with different weapons, such as guns, cutlasses, machetes and charms, to seal up buildings.
Some landlords and residents, who got angry by the encroachment on their property, were reported to have resisted the action.
It was gathered that there was a confrontation which resulted in a clash.
The Isheri-Oke Community Development Association’s Chairman, Kabiru Olonade, said a stray bullet fired by the police hit a pupil, Seun Bankole, who was returning home from school.
He said, “Around 6am, we saw people writing ‘Possession Taken’ on peoples’ buildings with paints. They also pasted a notification on their walls.
“When we looked at what was pasted on the walls, we realised that two families took each other to the Ikeja High Court and one of them got a judgment. But as indigenes, we don’t know these families.
“I told them to call for a meeting to deliberate on the matter and they left after marking some buildings. But they reinforced three hours later with chains and padlocks and started locking peoples’ houses.
“When they wanted to lock the market, people resisted them and that was what led to the fight.
“During the fight, bullets were fired and a stray bullet hit a pupil, Seun Bankole, who was on her way home from school. Four vehicles were vandalised during the clash.
“Almost all the buildings in Isheri and Olowora were marked for possession. They wanted to enter Magodo to start marking buildings when the clash happened. The Divisional Police Officer was contacted and he said he was unaware of the incident; but we wonder why policemen will accompany land grabbers and hoodlums to cause trouble in our community.”
A landlord, Dr Adewole Gbadebo, whose building was marked, urged the state government to intervene for peace to reign, adding that buildings owned by corporate institutions in the area were also marked.
He said, “Where were they over 40 years ago when this place was just a bush? We suffered to make this place a town and they came overnight to claim the land.
“Nobody knew about the case; it was between them and when they got judgement, they mobilised hoodlums to the streets and started threatening peoples’ lives and property. Are we in a jungle? Is there no government again in Nigeria? They sealed banks and houses; this is terrorism on a small scale and we want the state government to do something as fast as possible.”
The Chairman, Atere Isheri-Olowora CDA, Joseph Akande, said the leader of the group told him the government was supposed to inform them about the court case.
“I told him that most of us had obtained our certificates of occupancy and other relevant documents. We are not addressing the issue individually, but collectively because they came to mark buildings collectively. I believe if they have a case, they should invite property owners for a meeting to deliberate on the matter instead of this action,” he added.
The Zone 2 Police Public Relations Officer, Hawua Idris, confirmed the incident.
She said, “I have confirmed that men from Zone 2 were asked to escort a court bailiff to the site and when they got there, they executed the court ruling, but on their way back, they were attacked by hoodlums.
“There was no shooting from the police officers; the hoodlums were the ones who threw stones and destroyed police vehicles.”