By Christopher Oji
Residents of Magodo Phase 2 Estate in Lagos State, yesterday, took to the street to protest against the presence of about 50 policemen at the gate.
This was after the estate’s management had ordered the closure of the gates in protest against the planned demolition of property within the estate.
There has been crisis between the police and the management/inhabitants of the estate, as residents accused the police of intimidation to the extent that the estate’s security guards prevented the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, from entering the estate for a social visit, prompting the commissioner to order the arrest of the guards.
However, the board of trustees of the estate has apologized to Odumosu over the misdemeanor of the guards who barred him from entering the estate.
In the apology, Engr. Ayoola Lawson said on behalf of the security guards and the residents’ association: “I tender unreserved apologies for the improper conduct of our estate on the 1st of January 2022, at the estate gate entrance. The conduct of the security men is highly regretted.”
During yesterday’s protest, policemen were said to have recently accompanied suspected land-grabbers and members of a particular family who besieged the estate to claim possession of property.
During the visit, the group used red, brown and blue inks to inscribe “ID/795/88 Possession Taken Today 21/12/21 by Court Order,” on various properties on the estate.
The family were said to have led the group and armed policemen to the estate to execute a Supreme Court judgement.
The group was about to enter the estate with a bulldozer when the estate management ordered the closure of the gate.
It was learnt that it took the intervention of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu before the gates were reopened as the Inspector-General of Police, Baba Usman, promised to withdraw the policemen.
Speaking with our correspondent, the chairman of the estate, Bajo Osinubi, said the policemen had remained in the estate despite Sanwo-Olu’s intervention, adding that residents had been living in fear as the policemen moved around with their weapons.
He said, “More than 50 armed policemen are still around and they are restless and didn’t go for Christmas and New Year. In the morning and evening, they carry their guns around and you can imagine what will happen if there is a disagreement between the group and residents and somebody.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has described the takeover plot as unwarranted and vowed to prosecute those involved in the invasion.
Also, the legal adviser of the Magodo Residents’ Association, Tunji Abdulhameed, while countering the purported Supreme Court judgment behind the actions of the claimants, said there was no specification to the area, property and location of the plots of land in the judgment they got in 1993.
He averred that, “For you to execute even when you get a judgment, you must still apply for a writ of possession and, without it, you cannot enforce the judgment. So, when they applied for the writ of possession and it was approved, we challenged it and that was the time the residents’ association joined the case as we were not part of the case before they got the judgment.
“The essence of the closure of the gate was to create awareness to the public and to draw the attention of the government as to what is happening in Magodo so that we can get protection from them.”
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