By Temitayo Peters

OrderPaperToday – A petition by a community before the Lagos State House of Assembly has accused top government officials in the state of land racketeering in the Imota area of Ikorodu, Lagos State.

The petitioners, through their lawyer, Gbenga Ojo & Co., claimed that the government officials were led by one Mr. Kayode Ogunubi, an Executive Secretary in the Lands Buerau of the state.

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According to the community, the officials connived with a traditional ruler in Imota to sell a part of the 20 hectares of land excised to the Balogun branch of Refuwe family in Ikorodu by the state government.

The petition dated 23 February, 2016, is titled: ‘Land racketeering by officials of Land Bureau led by Mr. Ogunubi, Executive Secretary, Land Bureau, Alausa in respect to a parcel of land already released by the Lagos State Government to the previous owners in Imota area of Lagos State’.

According to the petitioners, the Refuwe family through their lawyer “in 1980, the Lagos State Government acquired a large tract of land in Imota area of Lagos State. Some of the land so acquired belonged to our clients” but that after a series of meetings and consultations, the state government through a letter dated 21 January, 2008, released 20 hectares of the land to the family and that the government’s decision was further confirmed in the state¬† gazette No 2 Vol. 41 of 28 February, 2008.

“Subsequently, all manner of people came on the land claiming that they purchased various portions of the land from the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of lands and Environment. Some of them even gave our clients copies of Certificates of Occupancy purportedly issued by Lagos State Government.

“Investigation by our clients revealed that there is a strong and powerful cartel or syndicate in Lands Bureau led by Mr. Ogunubi, the Executive Secretary, Lands Department that is behind all these atrocities.

“In a manner similar to acts of gangsterism, on 17 February, 2016, a combined team of Governor’s Monitoring Team and Task Force with several armed mobile policemen invaded the land with the intention to arrest, detain and prosecute our clients in order to intimidate them from asserting their ownership of the land released to them by Lagos State Government.”

The petitioners, who noted the efforts so far made by the state House of Assembly to stem the activities of land grabbers in the state, said it was “unimaginable that officers of Land Bureau in Lagos State would turn themselves into official ‘ajagungbales’ using government machineries and apparatus for this crude purpose.”

The complainants, who attached various other documents to back their claim, want the House of Assembly to investigate the allegation and award compensation to the family.

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