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SPECIAL REPORT : Top Police Officers Fingered In Ogun Land Grabbing ‘War’ -INVESTIGATION

 Daud Olatunji

In an exclusive investigation by PLATFORM TIMES, a high-ranking police officer, choosing to remain anonymous, has revealed a disturbing alliance between certain police officers and notorious land grabbers wreaking havoc on landowners in various parts of Ogun State and beyond.

While some police officers diligently combat this menace, our investigation exposes that a faction within the police force, specifically in Abuja, zone 2, and Alagbon, strengthens the ranks of these land grabbers by offering them support. Shockingly, some policemen may even be on the payroll of these criminals.

Ogun State, the gateway state in Nigeria, has been under siege of these hoodlums who, despite the law against their action, unleashed terror on the people in various communities.

PLATFORM TIMES’s investigation revealed that almost 40 per cent of the state has been facing the challenges of land grabbing while both professionals and landowners have been forced to bow to their desire.

The cry of land grabbers echoed from Abeokuta-South spread through Abeokuta-North to Ewekoro, Odeda, Ifo, Obafemi-Owode, Sagamu, Odogbolu, Ikenne, Remo-North, Ado-Odo/Ota, and Ijebu-Ode among others.

Further findings revealed that as of the time of filing this report, land grabbers were still operating freely in some communities across the state.

A builder, very recently, shared his experience with this reporter on how some land grabbers stopped the ongoing drilling of boreholes in Sabo, Abeokuta.

The builder explained that even policemen could not scare them from their illegal action, and until they were paid, the action was not allowed.

Many victims who shared their experiences with PLATFORM TIMES lamented that they either lost their land after they paid  or asked to pay a second time.

Some also claimed that these hoodlums have what they called ‘job cards” where the rates of every activity is  attached with cost; for the foundation of the house, a certain amount is attached, to roof once building, the owner must pay a certain amount, and many others.

While communities were said to have been seized for weeks and months in the state without any hindrance, PLATFORM TIMES also gathered that land matters were one of the most frequent cases at the various courts in the state .

Sharing confidential information with PLATFORM TIMES, the police source said the fight against land grabbing in the state could be won if only some policemen could be checked.

The source said on many occasions, land grabbers used very high-ranking police officers from either zone 2 or Abuja, also the divisional police office at Alagbon, Lagos.

The source said, “Once the land grabbers discovered that we (security men) were getting close to them, they would either go to Zone 2 or Abuja, or even run to Alagbon.

Some policemen connive with land grabbers, and some may be on their payroll. Some land grabbers have been remanded in various prisons through anti-land grabbing laws.

“If any land grabber is taken to court through anti-land grabbing laws, the court would remand him or her for 60 days before hearing the case. Some have been taken to court through anti-land grabbing laws.

“It is annoying that the police in Zone 2 would be dabbling into the land matters in Ogun State.

“How could Zone 2 Lagos Police or police in Abuja be asking for the case file of a land grabbing case? Can they know more than the policemen in the state? Can policemen in Zone 2 know the land grabbing case more than the policemen in Abeokuta?

“Just recently, an eight-man gang of land grabbers invaded some communities in Ifo, but unfortunately, they were arrested. 

“They were caught with a pistol and cartridges. They have been making moves to their godfather in the police to save them.

“Anytime Owoeye is invited for questioning, he would quickly call Alagbon police, and they would ask the state to hand off the case. These hoodlums use the proceeds of land grabbing to bribe them.”

Corroborating the police source on the involvement of policemen in land grabbing business, the Minority Leader of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon Lukman Adeleye, representing Odogbolu, alleges that land grabbers frustrate landowners through collusion with police officers in Abuja and zone 2, Lagos.

He said, “Odogbolu has been taken over by land grabbers. It is not even about Odogbolu; in fact, the least village in Odogbolu was not spared. As I am talking to you, there are land grabbers in Omu, operating there. We just chased Owoeye out of Odogbolu.

“In Odoselu, Abatiwa, they were there for 30 days. People are just coming back home now. For months, the whole community was deserted. There is a village called Abatiwa.”

Speaking on the style of these land grabbers, Adeleye said, “These land grabbers start by serving the landowners with court summons.

“They can even occupy the land, and when the owners raise alarm, they beat and machete them.

“They also forge the history of the land or obtain a court judgment. When they do that, they settle with the police and make use of a family member who compromises and gives them hints.

“After forging the document, a family member helps them. There must be an insider ready to be used to steer people away. They have a way of taking the land, invading any land, and chasing the occupants away.

“They use the police in Zone 2, Lagos, to harass the owners of the land. They would not use police in Eleweran in Ogun State. From Zone 2, they would ask the landowners to come to Abuja.

“Someone who does not have money to feed himself, how can he have the transport money to Abuja? And when they eventually get there, they detain them for one or two weeks? They will also invite them to Zone 2.

“These people (the landowners) would be frustrated and stay away from the land. It is either they now negotiate with the land grabbers or take them to court, and they must have a lot of money to influence the judgment and the prosecutor.”

Speaking on the plan of the Assembly to combat the menace, Adeleye discloses plans to counter this crisis, mentioning a stakeholder meeting that was designed to review the existing anti-land grabbing law.

25-Year Jail Term Law Against Land Grabbers Passed Since 2016

PLATFORM TIMES reports that on October 12, 2016, during the administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the State Assembly passed a land-grabbing bill with severe penalties into law.

PLATFORM TIMES further gathered that this was in response to the escalating violent crimes in the state.

The House of Assembly had approved a bill proposing a 25 -year jail term or even a death sentence for individuals involved in land grabbing.

The legislation, presented by the then Deputy Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, also outlines penalties for using firearms or offensive weapons during land takeovers, with potential death sentences if lives are lost in the process.

The bill, which addresses the issue comprehensively, includes a provision for a ₦5 million fine or 10 years imprisonment, or both, for those engaging agents in forceful land takeovers.

Additionally, it imposed stringent penalties for robbery, specifying a minimum of twenty-one years imprisonment and death sentences for armed robbery.

Furthermore, the bill covers cases of kidnapping, abductions, and violent rituals leading to death or bodily harm. Offenders in such cases, upon conviction, face punishments equivalent to murder charges under Section 319 (1) Criminal Code Law of Ogun State, 2006.

The former Speaker of the House, Suraju Adekunbi, had directed the clean copy of the bill to be sent to Governor Ibikunle Amosun for his assent.

Despite the Law, Land Grabbing Menace Persists

Despite the passage of the anti-land grabbing law, which recommended a death sentence to any land grabber caught, the state still faces growing threats from land-grabbing activities reportedly orchestrated by Mutairu Owoeye and others.

Since the law was passed, land grabbers have not ceased to torment the people of the state.

Just last year, farmers in local communities, including Onigbedu in Ewekoro, complained of being unable to access their lands due to intimidation by Owoeye’s suspected agents.

Former Legislative Council Leader, Ahmed Adeniyi Mustapha, shared his experience during a brutal attack on April 26, 2023, highlighting the fear instilled by the land grabbers.

Mustapha emphasizes the need for Governor Abiodun and the police to intervene, as residents were now barred from farming and trading due to Owoeye’s alleged influence.

On April 4, 2023, Ogun police arrested three in connection with land-grabbing in Gbayunre village, following a petition from Dada Gbabi family.

Also, due to this menace, Orile-Imo community in the state appeals to Governor Abiodun to intervene against land grabbers.

Speaking under the aegis of Imo Descendants Association, the people accused the former local government chairman, named withheld, of conspiring to sell ancestral land to foreigners.

In a disturbing turn of events on June 12, 2023, suspected land grabbers wreaked havoc in Ogun State, killing two individuals and seizing control of 13 villages across Obafemi-Owode and Sagamu local government areas.

Reports indicate that the invaders forcibly expelled residents from Shimawa in Sagamu and caused destruction.

Tragically, in Orile-Eegun Kara Nla village, Mowe, two lives were claimed by the marauders.

Tiamiyu Fasasi, a community leader in Shimawa, led a protest, pleading for intervention from Governor Dapo Abiodun, the Kabiyesi of Shimawa, and the police to expel these intruders, emphasizing their lack of legitimate claim to the land.

A grim incident unfolded on September 18, 2019, when land grabbers, allegedly linked to the notorious figure Kamorudeen Lamina, infiltrated four communities in Odogbolu Local Government, Ogun State, resulting in three deaths and one severe machete wound.

Approximately 30 hoodlums, reportedly associates of “Sir K. Oluwo,” targeted Mooro Otefisan, Odoonosa, Gbodomo, and Amitekun in retaliation for Lamina’s detention at Sagamu prison over a land dispute that claimed three lives.

High Chief Jimoh Balogun, the Baale of Odoonosa, accused prison officers of aiding the attackers and called on the federal government to investigate and take action.

A retired marine officer, Captain Michael Adegboyega Shonubi, urged the Inspector General of Police to address the issue, expressing frustration with law enforcement’s handling.

…Land Grabbers, Aided By Corrupt Officers, Invaded Ogun

On August 15, 2023, villages, leaders, farmers, NUJ, and RCCG along the Ibadan Express road sent an SOS to Governor Abiodun, the Speaker, and the Inspector General of Police. 

PLATFORM TIMES gathered that these people faced violent attacks allegedly with police connivance  at local, zonal, and Abuja levels. NUJ Chairman, Comrade Wale Olanrewaju, laments the non-implementation of the land grabbers bill as they take over NUJ’s permanent site with a valid Certificate of Occupancy.

 In Ilaro, farmers, CDAs, and religious bodies plead for rescue from armed thugs wreaking havoc and extorting money, with redress attempts failing. 

PLATFORM TIMES further gathered that, despite a Magistrate Court Order in Itori, notorious land grabbers roam freely, accompanied by non-uniformed police, invading homes and farms. 

A judgement on May 13, 2023, ordered the police to arrest Sheriff Akinleye and others, but they continue with impunity.

…How We Lost Our Lands To Land Grabbers – Victims

A resident of Anokan, Ade Adebola Ayedere, Obada, Ewekoro, Ogun State, shared their ordeal in the hands of land grabbers, saying they faced terror as land grabbers seized their community.

 Adebola said despite reporting to authorities, the community resorted to self-help, leading to arrests and some perpetrators in prisons. In Alarugbo, Abeokuta-North, a shocking incident unfolded as land grabbers seized four plots at gunpoint. 

Ibrahim Abolaji, who narrated this incident, said his friend was the victim. He, however, advocated legislative changes to protect landowners. 

Also, at Adehun community in Abeokuta-North, some residents face distress as land grabbers inflate prices and coerce residents into paying exorbitant sums. 

One of the landowners in the area, Musediq, said his family was shortchanged after paying the required amount of money for five plots. Adekunle Habeeb shares a distressing ordeal with land grabbers in Owedotun, Abeokuta. 

Purchasing land in 2018, he faced extortion demands a year later, disrupting ownership and forcing additional payments. Mrs. Nimot Oluwafemi exposes her father’s harrowing experience in Abule Iroko, Sango.

… Govt Fuels Land Grabbing With Land Acquisition – Expert

In a stark critique of the government’s expansive land acquisition policy, Mr. Kemi Ade, a seasoned town planner, has raised an alarm over the potential fueling of land grabbing through this method. 

The government’s claim of acquiring 1.5km on both sides of major roads, including the Lagos-Ibadan express road and Abeokuta-Ibadan road, has come under intense scrutiny. 

According to Ade, the lack of specific purpose for these acquisitions makes it challenging for the government to effectively control these prime lands, inevitably leading to encroachment. Despite being labeled as acquisitions, experts argue that the government’s approach mirrors land grabbing tactics. 

A major concern is the prohibitive cost imposed by the government, preventing indigenous individuals from acquiring substantial land. With charges soaring as high as N500 million for 10 hectares, the policy is accused of limiting access to land for the local population. 

The situation in Ogun State adds another layer to the controversy, as purchasing land without immediate plans for construction exposes buyers to the risk of falling victim to land grabbers.

 Ade emphasises the importance of utilizing acquired land promptly or putting it to some use to avoid potential encroachment.

 Amidst these concerns, Ade advocates for stringent documentation and thorough background checks during land purchases.

 The resounding call from the expert and others in the field is for the government to reevaluate its land acquisition strategy.

… Stakeholders Recommend Special Tribunal For Land Grabbing Matters


Following the failure of the law to dissuade the hoodlums, a significant move against the rising threat of land grabbing and related offenses in the State, stakeholders on September 21, 2023, gathered for a public hearing to push for the establishment of a special tribunal dedicated to expeditiously handling cases pertaining to land grabbing and associated crimes.

 The discussion revolved around “House bill No. 006/ OG/2023,” aiming to prohibit unauthorized entry and occupation of landed properties, address anti-violence and fraudulent activities related to landed properties, armed robbery, kidnapping, and other relevant matters. 

Key speakers, including Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, the Towulade of Akinale, Surv. Ademola Adebowale (Chairman of the Nigeria Institution of Surveyors in the State), and Barr. James Olubankole (Director of Legislative Drafting in the State Ministry of Justice), emphasized the urgency of curbing the menace posed by land grabbers, often in collaboration with certain officials of the Nigeria Police stationed outside the State Command. 

During the hearing, former speaker Olakunle Oluomo stressed that the legislative session held on September 12, 2023, extensively debated the bill. He underscored the necessity of amending existing laws to effectively combat criminal activities, particularly those perpetrated by cultists and land grabbers.

 Damilola Soneye, Chairman of the House Committee on Lands and Housing, expressed concern over the increasing number of petitions related to land grabbing received daily, promising to incorporate stakeholder inputs into the bill.

… New Law Must Be Strengthened- House Committee Chairman, Kaka

In a stern address, Segun Kaka, Chairman of the House Committee on Information representing Ijebu-North II, has voiced his concerns over the persisting menace of land grabbing, emphasising the profound threat it poses to both lives and the state’s economic stability.

 Highlighting the existing policies for land acquisition, Kaka emphasised the need for a more robust approach. 

He recommended a streamlined process, proposing the establishment of a special panel or committee with a one-spot prosecution strategy to promptly arrest and prosecute offenders involved in land grabbing incidents. 

Expressing dissatisfaction with the current legal framework, Kaka stressed the necessity of a dedicated force comprising legal, security, and relevant authorities to form a specialised task force. 

Drawing parallels to successful initiatives in Lagos in the 90s, he argued for a proactive stance to combat the rising challenges faced by regions like Owode, Interchange, and Sagamu. 

He underscored the importance of implementing stricter penalties, suggesting a 25-year sentence for those found guilty. 

Identifying economic hardship as a root cause, Kaka concluded by urging collective efforts to address the issue, emphasizing that everyone is an “Eratrashe” – a term likely reflecting a shared responsibility in tackling societal challenges. 

The minority leader, Adeleye, while speaking on the new bill, said the Assembly proposed a task force led by the Attorney-General/Solicitor General, aiming to shift power away from the police to ensure fairness in handling land-related disputes. 

Adeleye said, “The stakeholders’ meeting was called where professionals made their inputs. It is now left for the governor to sign the bill into law. 

The new law has recommended a task force that would be headed by the Attorney-General/Solicitor General. The AG would be the prosecutor. We want to take the power from the police and take it to the AG, who is expected to be fair.”

… Ogun Govt. Launched Special Task Force To Combat Land Issues

In a bid to tackle improper documentation, land encroachment, and grabbing, the State Government inaugurated a 10-man Special Task Force in August of last year. Led by Arc. Segun Fowora, the committee is mandated to collaborate with security agencies to ensure strict enforcement of property rights. 

Fowora emphasised the task force’s role in curbing the activities of land grabbers, protecting investors, and maintaining law and order.

 He urged a legal approach to dispute resolution and highlighted ongoing legislative efforts to address land grabber activities with stringent penalties. 

The government warned offenders of facing the full force of the law.

…Ogun Police Compiles Database Of Known Land Grabbers

Speaking on the menace of land-grabbing in the state, the State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, said, “We have made our position clear on the issue of land grabbing. We have started compiling a database for all known land grabbers. Somebody will claim that his family has acres of landed property in Yewa. 

“The same family has acres of landed property in Abeokuta, and the same family has acres of landed property in Ijebu. What kind of family is that? We are making a compilation of such persons, so that anytime their names feature in any petition, we can easily identify such persons and also assist the court with the information we have that this person is claiming ownership of land in Abeokuta, Yewa, and Ijebu which logically cannot be explained. 

“Our appeal to law-abiding citizens is that anytime they discover that some miscreants have come to encroach on their land, all they need to do is inform us.”

 The reason why this is becoming prevalent in Ogun is because Lagos is getting choked up and people are moving towards Ogun State; however, Ogun State has an effective anti-land grabbing law.”

The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi had yet to respond to the message sent to him as of the time of filing this report .

The  state government  was contacted through the Senior Special Assistant on Public Communications, Dare Odufowokan  had not responded as of the time of filing this report .

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