Every plan by Macgregor to illegally take over our land would be vehemently resisted – Orile Ilawo residents

The Indigenous people of Orile Ilawo in Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State have raised the alarm over the alleged ploy by the “politically appointed” monarch, Alexander McGregor proposing to establish a vocational centre in Orile Ilawo as a ploy to take over their ancestral lands.

The indigenous people of Orile Ilawo sent strong warnings to Macgregor to desist from any alleged agenda to steal their lands, stressing that the residents and indigenous families would never allow such to happen.

In a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday at a grand community meeting held in ALAGBAGBA, the Ilawo people alleged the embattled monarch of planning to hijack people’s land through different illegal means. These proposals are advanced by the same interests, and pursue the same ends- Taking our ancestral lands.

While commending the initiative to establishing a vocational centre, the Ilawo residents insisted that the embattled monarch should find where his own family land is located first, and if non-existent, follow due process and secure land from original owners to establish such idea. They stressed that trying to use veto power to forcefully take over people’s land by referring to ancestral lands as communal lands for such an initiative would be rejected by the residents vehemently.

The locals added that this had always been the agenda of the newly installed monarch and the purpose for which he allegedly “hijacked” the process in order to become king. We won’t be deceived. The locals added.

It was gathered that the obaship tussle in the community has been lingering for the past two years amid litigations from the parties concerned. There are several court cases pending before the high courts of Ogun State.

The community leaders called on the Inspector General of Police, the Ogun State Government and all security outfits in the state to prevent an imminent total breakdown of law and order by calling Macgregor to order.

“Respecting our rights to self-determination and to our ancestral domain, in which our identities are anchored cannot be overemphasized. This new ploy in the form of a proposal to establish a vocational school is clearly to penetrate the domains of our Orile and have express powers to develop any land and of course, we know it is ultimate ploy to grab people’s possession. It will never happen. “ Chief Kunle Egbeyemi added.

He further said, “Establishment of the proposed vocational training Centre is devoid of any iota of sincerity because we know the ultimate plan of this man. He is coming for our ancestral lands and he should be assured of getting tied up in litigation till Jesus comes.”

Eng. Obafemi Ogundele, an Indigineous member of Orile Ilawo said, “This is where this monarch has got it completely wrong. We are not dumb in Orile Ilawo, we know his plans, our people know their rights, we know his purpose, see why we have claimed from day one that this remains his ultimate agenda. What their past generation did to Ilawo in the past will never be allowed ever again. Gone are the days of stealing over 300 hectares of Ilawo arable land and converting it to a private property, a private farm that is, at the boundaries of Egba and Oyo in Babalaokuta, Igbo Ora area which is the adjoining boundary of Ilawo in Oke Ogun. We have all the documents and courts will adjudge.

“The good news is that we can continue to hold the line against these threats by making the politically appointed monarch understand that our community rightly view them as attacks on our ancestral lands.”

Mrs Opeyemi Famuyiwa noted, “the real question is, to what end is this monarch doing this? Why is he not establishing the proposed vocational school in his village first, that is if he even has any? I thought he said his ancestors has a village in Ilawo Ewekoro Or better still, why is he not establishing the vocational school inside Ilawo Township where he has his palace and supporters? They need the school there much more than Orile.

“Every Egba indigine who has a house in town has a village. That idea is sacrosanct but this person has no village or lineage connecting it to any land in Orile Ilawo.

“This man is only trying to strategically take over our ancestral lands and it will be resisted in every way.

“I advise him not to waste his money or resources because it will be tied in litigation for years to come. More and more people from Orile Ilawo are awakened and informed thoroughly already, including those abroad.

“He should just use his resources to establish his plans in his village if he has any (We all know in Ilawo that this monarch family has no village or connection/by lineage to any village in Orile Ilawo).”

Our correspondent reached out to Chief Lawrence Ogunsanya who is also the Akogun of Ilawo, reacting, “Over the last few years, we’ve talked a lot about a movement we’ve called ”Ancestral Land Heist”, a plot led by the recent politically appointed monarch who wants to privatize control of our Indigenous lands for their own personal or political profit.

“So, I am not surprised about these proposals as they are advanced by the same interests, and pursue the same ends: taking your ancestral lands, and handing over ownership or control to a small group of would-be profiteers including himself. We know about the landed property company recently established, we have the details and know exactly what needs to be done.”

First, the good news. In one sense, we are winning. Over the last few months, we’ve beaten back the worst, most overt threats to privatize our ancestral lands or transfer them to their cronies.
Transferring acres of ancestral lands … is not something I think the majority of our people think is a good idea. These changes are happening because people across the homestead are speaking up and telling their families, nuclear and extended about the consequences. When they propose to take away the places that belong to all of us, they have gotten an earful, from farmers and climbers, hunters and anglers, and people of all political persuasions. So let’s keep it up.

“Now, the bad news. These neo-parasites aren’t giving up on gaining control of our ancestral lands, they’re just changing tactics like the proposed Vocational school. However, I can assure you that we would continue to hold the line against these threats by making everyone who cares to listen understand that our community rightly view them as attacks on our ancestral lands and it will not be allowed to pass.”

“We the people must stand up and protect our heritage and pass it on to all future generations. Those generations are counting on us.”

Prof Akin Sodipe, a known pharmacist based in the United States also called in via live sessions organized and submitted that he had been persuading the aggrieved youths in the Orile Ilawo community to calm down and not to cause unrest over the alleged Macgregors actions.

“I want to thank God that the youths have always listened to me each time they tried to engage in violence not to because that is what Macgregor wants to use in destabilizing the effort”.

“Two years of endurance in this type of case, which rarely comes by, is through the grace of God.

“In what may unfold next if the installed monarch fails to toe the path of peace and be law abiding, respecting indigenous peoples right to their lands, the existing peace that had hitherto been managed may explode,” he warned

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