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Badagry community expresses worry over missing persons

Posted by By Chris Anucha on 2005/07/27 | Views: 1046 |

Badagry community expresses worry over missing persons

Fear of uncertainty has gripped residents of Araromi community in Badagry area of Lagos as their youths have continued to disappear without any trace, after a police invasion last month.

Fear of uncertainty has gripped residents of Araromi community in Badagry area of Lagos as their youths have continued to disappear without any trace, after a police invasion last month.

Mobile policemen from Mopol 20, Oduduwa, Ikeja, led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr. Ajibade Ogundokun, were said to have arrested 36 youths on that day and detained them at the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba. But when the community leaders went for their release, only 24 were handed over to them.

As at the time of this report, the whereabouts of 12 remained unknown.

According to the community leader, Chief Ibikunle Ajose, the Oshoku of Araromi Ale, the number of missing youths has continued to increase by the day.
"We are now living in fear and that is why we walk in groups now. You can not walk alone here any longer because you could be kidnapped and taken away to an unknown destination," one of the youths told Daily Sun.

Of concern to the community, is also the killing of one Mr. Jimoh Fadairo, by the police on that fateful day and his corpse put in a police vehicle marked NPF 6443LA and taken away.
Efforts by the community since June, to retrieve his body and give it a decent burial proved abortive.
The deceasedís wife, Mrs. Kike Fadairo, narrated how her husband was shot by the police in her presence and how she was tortured for demanding an explanation on why her husband was brutally killed.

"I want his body, let them give me my dead husband. The police shot him, put the body in their vehicle and drove away. Government should help to fish out the particular policeman that killed my husband," Kike cried out.
The 30-year-old widow said since the death of the breadwinner, life had become unbearable for her and their only son.
Giving insight into what led to the incident, Ajose explained that Oba Babatunde Lawal, the Onigbanko of Irede, sent some surveyors, mobile policemen, OPC members and thugs, to invade their land on June 6.

He disclosed that as soon as they arrived the scene, the policemen started shooting sporadically, while others removed landmarks and replaced them with pillars.
He accused the police and the thugs, who were armed to the teeth, of destroying their houses, vehicles and other property and injuring many members of the community.
"Many of the confused residents fled into the bush while the police arrested those they could lay their hands on," Ajose said
The community leaders expressed shock that the police later said that four mobile policemen were kidnapped by the youths and that it was in an attempt to rescue the policemen that the community was invaded.

In a Save Our Soul (SOS) letter to the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, dated June 10, the community explained that the High Court 10, Lagos, early this year, gave judgment in favour of Ilogbo Eremi community in a land dispute between it and Araromi Ale community.
But Araromi Ale challenged the judgment in the Court of Appeal in a suit, which was duly served to the lawyers and the traditional rulers involved in the suit.
According to the petition, three months later, Obas M.A.A Olaleye of Ilogbo Eremi and Lawal of Irede, sent thugs under the supervision of Nigeria police, to destroy houses, removing landmarks as well as injuring many people.

The community expressed surprise at the judgment, since there had been a supreme court judgment on the same land, delivered in favour of Araromi Ale in 1904.
According to a certified copy of the judgment in the suit, instituted in 1896 by Abore Aiyelogun, the biological father of the current Onigbanko of Irede and three others, versus Aina Oketi, the progenetors of Araromi Ale, the Supreme court of the colony of Lagos, presided over by Chief Justice William Nicoll, gave judgement in favour of Araromi.

The certified true copy of the judgment made available to Daily Sun reads: " The court gave as oral judgment finding that the land in dispute viz: that between the palm tree (white tree) and the village of Ibikun and lying north of the ferry all as shown on a sketch of the land by the acting commissioner is the property and land of defendants."
The judgment, which was delivered on Monday, August 29, 1904, was signed by the then Chief Justice, W. Nicoll, based on, among other things, the survey of the land by Nigeriaís first licensed surveyor, late Herbert Macaulay.

In a separate petition to the acting Inspector General of police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, Araromi community decried the role of the police in a land dispute involving communities.
"We cannot understand the involvement of the police in measuring land, erecting pillars and vandalizing property worth millions of naira," the petition further said.
The community accused Oba Olaleye of attempting to enslave the residents. It cited a letter purportedly written to the old Badagry Local Government in 1989, requesting that he should be granted the power to install Baale in Oko Afo, Magbon, Athinporomeh, Ibiye and Oke -Ogbe communities, which are directly under Araromi Ale.

Daily Sun gathered that his request was rejected by chieftaincy committee, that told him that the communities he wanted to impose himself on were under Araromi Ale.

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