Residents of Adigbe and its environs in the Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State have been thrown into panic following a court order authorising a family to take over about 400 houses and plots of land in the area.
The State High Court sitting in Abeokuta had granted the prayers of one Apostle Oyedeji family, which claimed to be the original owner of the land in the Adigbe community, to take possession of over 400 houses and underdeveloped plots of land in the community.
It was gathered that members of the family went to the community in the early hours of Thursday with mobile policemen and court bailiffs to take possession of the properties on the land as ordered by the court.
The judgment, which was delivered by Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, stated that the Oyedeji family was the rightful owner of the land, which measures about 19.640 hectares and is bounded in the front by the Bamitomo stream, on the right by Ajegunle Street, on the left by the Ogun River and at the back by the Odemo Adigbe Road.
The judge, however, cautioned the claimants to only take over underdeveloped pieces of land in the area.
The court had on November 18, 2019, issued a warrant of possession to the family to take over the land as the rightful owners.
Acting on the court order, the family went to the community with policemen and reportedly locked some of the houses and pasted the notice of possession on them.
When our correspondent visited the area, a caveat emptor notice was pasted on some buildings and tension enveloped the community.
The notice informed the residents to be aware that the real owners of the land had been granted access to take ownership of the properties within the 19.640-hectare radius.
Some of the residents, who spoke with our correspondent, expressed concern over the development.
They claimed that they were not sure if the new landowner would ask them to pay extra money for the land they acquired some years back.
They expressed anxiety over a possible forceful takeover of their houses by the new landowners.
A resident, Isiaq Badejo, said most of the residents of the community were not aware of the case until the Oyedeji family came with the notice of possession.
He stated, “We purchased this land over 20 years ago and we have been living here for more than 10 years.
“It came as a surprise to us that some people are now claiming ownership of the land.
“We are confused and we don’t know our fate, whether they will ask us to leave or pay another money.”
Another resident, Raji Adeoye, appealed to the state government to intervene in the matter.
Adeoye stated, “The government needs to come to our aid; it is barbaric for some people to come like thieves in the night and said they want to take over land that we bought many years ago.
“We don’t know what to do. Residents are confused; it is only the government that can solve this problem.”
The residents appealed to the family to consider the occupants of the land in whatever decision it would take.
The Secretary to the family, Sesan Babatunde, said proper negotiation would be done with the occupants of the land.
He added that the family was not prepared to send anybody out of their homes, but wanted to let them know that it was the true owner of the land.
Babatunde stated, “We are also human and we are not here to send anybody out of their homes.
“Even the court admitted that our case is late, but the judgment just favours us, because we are the rightful owners of the land with evidence. We are going to sit down with the owners of those houses and look at what we can do for each other.
“We are doing this to send trespassers away from our property; nobody will leave. Everything will end with negotiations that will favour all the parties.”