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Ayobo mayhem: Police on the trail of prime suspect

Posted by By Paul Omo Obadan on 2008/08/05 | Views: 2638 |

Ayobo mayhem: Police on the trail of prime suspect

Morufu Owonla, otherwise called Kaka, who recently reportedly unleashed terror on residents of the erstwhile peaceful Ayobo community in Lagos State over a prolonged land tussle, has said the Ojoijo (king) of Ayobo, Oba Arole Idowu, and his cohorts drew the first blood and like Rambo in the famed American movie, First Blood, he had to avenge the harm done to him.

Morufu Owonla, otherwise called Kaka, who recently reportedly unleashed terror on residents of the erstwhile peaceful Ayobo community in Lagos State over a prolonged land tussle, has said the Ojoijo (king) of Ayobo, Oba Arole Idowu, and his cohorts drew the first blood and like Rambo in the famed American movie, First Blood, he had to avenge the harm done to him.

But, unlike Rambo, who took on a whole battalion of police and subdued them, Kaka allegedly came with hundreds of his co-thugs, leaving in their wake a tale of sorrow. Five persons were reportedly killed in the fracas with countless others injured while houses and vehicles were also destroyed.

But speaking with Sunday Sun in a telephone interview from his hideout, Kaka denied raiding Ayobo with hoodlums.
He explained that his interest in the matter was because he had businesses spread around Ayobo and the town was losing its peace.

"I tried my best to bring a lasting solution to the land dispute, but every move I made was blocked by the chairman of the local government and the Oba (King). My business interest and my children were paramount to me.
"In fact, I was persecuted because I was on the side of Bello Ekundayo. They started targeting my family. I was going with two buses to rescue my family when we ran into OPC (Oodua Peoples Congress) chaps. That was how the scuffle started. Two of my brothers were killed and three on the side of Bello Ekundayo.

"The piece of land is said to have been bought by Ekundayo in 1976, measuring approximately 98.802 acres (39.985 hectares) and located at Igbo-Ologbo, Alaja Megida Road, Ayobo, but the present monarch in Ayobo claimed that the land was bought from the wrong people that had no direct lineage to the family. They claim that Raimi Afosho is a stranger and had no right to sell the land."
The alleged owner of the disputed land, Chief Bello Ekundayo corroborated Kaka’s claim. His counsel, Olagoke Akeusola, told Sunday Sun that his client bought a vast expanse of land from one Raimi Afosho, the then Baale of Ayobo in 1975.

"He (Afosho) was also the head of the Olalere family, which is made up of three divisions - Atuke, Akpasha and Akpete. By 1991, he started noticing that people were trespassing on the land by uprooting his pillars. So he went to court in 1992. The case lasted from 1992 to 2004. He was given judgement on October 29, 2004 by Justice O. A. Williams of the Lagos High Court.

"The number one defendant that my client brought in 1992 was Taiwo Ogunbiyi. He was at that time the Baale of Ayobo and succeeded Afosho. They appealed three times at the Court of Appeal and the case was struck out three times.
"In 2005, my client tried to execute that judgment and went with the Sheriffs of the high court assisted by the police. But the people around that place led by the chairman of the local government, Prince Bisi Yusuf, mobilized the OPC and a fight ensued. As an OPC chap was trying to disarm a policeman, the gun went off and killed the OPC thug. The Police Area Commander of Area G in Ogba got involved and arranged for a peaceful resolution of the conflict but that was to no effect.

"On May 2, 2008, policemen from the State Command, Ikeja, went to execute the judgment and it was done peacefully. So when possession was given to us same day, we went there and my clients put some workers on the land to exercise his authority. After the judgment was executed, we went to Abuja and had a meeting in the Inspector General of Police office. At the meeting, my client, the Oba and Prince Yusuf were told by the Commissioner of Police to go and resolve the matter amicably.

"So we had a meeting on June 6, 2008 at the local government secretariat in Ayobo. There my client said if you want to buy the land, you have to pay N2 million per plot. So they said we should give them seven days to get back to us with a decision. But while we were holding the meeting, their lawyer was filing a fresh suit in the high court in a matter that had been decided at the Court of Appeal.

"On July 2, 2008, some of the workers my client put on the land were working there when they came with policemen from Area G. Before you knew it, a lot of people, including the OPC, had been mobilized against the workers, who were surprisingly arrested by the police.
"Also, on July 10, another set of people were there and they again attacked the workers. Four of them were killed while some sustained machete injuries. Those who sustained injury were arrested and taken to Panti (Police Station) and were hurriedly charged to court for murder the following Monday."

However, the lawyer denied that his client had any link with Kaka.
"While we were at Area G command in Ogba, we met a man named Kaka, who told us that he had just executed the judgment, that his house was on our land and that he wanted the matter settled. We told him his house was in Bada and that it (Bada) was not included. But he said he would try to mediate between Ekundayo, the Oba and Yusuf."

He further stated that since he had a hotel and school on the disputed land he wanted the matter resolved. "So he discussed with my client and even pleaded with him to reduce the amount he demanded to N600,000 per plot instead of the N2 million. And my client agreed.
"So he went to the Oba and told him that my client had a genuine case and that they should settle with us. But he said the Oba told him that they should not take my client serious. The council chairman also gave him a similar reply and that the case will be fought at the high court. So the allegation that he brought hoodlums to wreck havoc on the land beats our imagination."

When our reporter spoke with the council chairman, he wondered why Ekundayo and Kaka turned round to accuse him and the Oba that they were the ones who caused the problem in Ayobo.
Yusuf said as the chairman of the local government, he had a duty to maintain peace and order.
"I invited the police when I saw that our land was invaded. Some people were arrested and they made confessional statement that Kaka sent them to cause mayhem on Ayobo land," he said.

Sunday Sun also spoke to the Baale of Bada, Chief Nojimu Tiamiyu Bada, who said he witnessed everything that happened.
He claimed that Kaka led the hoodlums, saying he wore a white apparel and held a gun while he shot sporadically.
"I even heard him say that he went to meet Kabiyesi (king) for a peaceful resolution but all to no avail. He came to my house two weeks ago and told me that Ekundayo Bello had given him the mandate to retrieve his land and get a resolution but that he was being frustrated."
Bada also claimed that the present Oba was the rightful owner of the land.
"We know Raimi Afosho but he is not a land owner," he said.

Meanwhile, the police have declared Kaka wanted. The Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, confirmed this to Sunday Sun.
"We are not relenting. He can run for as long as he wants but it is definite that Kaka would be apprehended soon," he said.
Kaka, however, said it was not true he had been declared wanted, adding that he had been reporting to the police homicide department at Alagbon Close.

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