Some residents of Ibasa Ijegun-Egba, a riverine community in the Oriade Local Council Development Area of Lagos State on Thursday, bewailed the invasion of the community allegedly by policemen and suspected land grabbers.
The residents told journalists that since October 27, peace had eluded the town and its markets as it had allegedly been overrun by the police and hoodlums.
The traditional ruler of the Ibasa Ijegun-Imore community, Chief Tajudeen Ibikunle, said he was sleeping in his house on October 27 when some policemen and hoodlums came to arrest him.
He said, “They took me and some other residents to the police command in Onikan and locked us inside a cell.
“I was released on Saturday with the help of Oba Afeez Shittu, the traditional ruler of Ijegun-Egba land, who came to bail some of us that were in the cell.
“When I got back on Saturday, I discovered that these hoodlums had taken over all areas of my community in Ijegun and were disturbing the peaceful atmosphere.
“They had blocked everywhere and were beating and harassing residents, claiming to have taken over the community.
“We are appealing to the government to intervene now because I cannot even access my palace now because of their presence.”
A resident of Ijegun-Egba, Mrs Omolara Alebiosu, said she was arrested with her three children in front of their house without any reason.
She added, “About 50 hoodlums, some of them wearing masks, beat me and my children up and forced us to enter their vehicle.
“We were taken to Ikeja before someone called them on the phone to come to Zone 2 Onikan.
“They locked us up in a cell on Friday while the traditional ruler came on Saturday to bail some of us while others were released the following Monday.
“Now that we are back home, we discovered that the land grabbers are everywhere in the community, harassing us, telling us that the town belongs to them.”
Shedding more light on the incident, the Youth Chairman, Ibasa Ijegun-Egba Youth Satellite Community, Mr Kareem Idowu, said someone had written a petition against the community.
According to him, the petitioner claimed that youths in the community are involved in bunkering and malicious damage to property and are threatening marketers with guns.
The youth chairman said all these were lies, adding that he expected the police to do a proper investigation before invading the community.
He explained, “There is nothing like bunkering in our community because one can’t even go near the pipeline because of the presence of naval personnel.
“The community was trying to rebuild the Ogun shrine to give it a befitting status during the forthcoming festival, and this belongs to us.
“Also, no youth carries guns to market in Ijegun-Egba; we are law-abiding citizens.
“The Police should have done their findings before invading our community, now, many people have been arrested and detained till now.
“Again, we don’t understand why land grabbers should be involved in this issue because many thugs have been tormenting the residents, claiming that they have taken over our property in Ijegun-Egba.
“We are lawful people, and we have a paramount ruler installed by the Lagos State Government.
“Currently, nobody can go out or go to the market, this has really affected the economic situation of the area.
“We are appealing to the Lagos State Government to intervene and restore normalcy to our communities as we are now living in fear.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer for Zone 2 Onikan, Hauwa Idris-Adamu, said she was not aware of the incident.
She then promised to find out the department in charge of the case and resolve the conflict.