The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has visited the scene of the protest staged by Magodo residents over the planned invasion and demolition of their properties.
The estate management had ordered a closure of the estate gates in protest against the planned demolition of property in the estate.
Policemen numbering about 50 had recently accompanied suspected land grabbers and members of a family to invade the estate in order to claim possession of property.
During the invasion, 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 in the estate.
The suspected land grabbers were said to have operated based on a judgment by the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, some protesting residents brandished placards with different inscriptions, some of which called the attention of Governor Sanwo-Olu to the presence of the policemen in the estate.
Visiting the scene of the protest, Sanwo-Olu called for peace, just as he pointed out that there would be a meeting between all concerned parties at his office on Wednesday.
This is as he revealed that he had spoken with the Inspector-General of Police on the issue which he believed will be resolved soon.
He said, “My great residents of Magodo, I bring you good tidings. The chairman of the residents association, the Attorney General, other cabinet members and also the Assistant Inspector-General of Police are here.
“It’s difficult to start the New Year like this. It’s because of the importance of seeing to all of the information and lack of proper information that I had to take up this assignment myself.
“When the first incident happened about two weeks ago, I indeed intervened and If you remember very well, the action was immediately halted and there was no incident again. Throughout the festive period, we started communication.
“One of the things that we need to first understand is that the residents, the people that went to court and the police themselves are my subjects. So, I have the responsibility to ensure that fairness and equity are entrenched.
“The people that went to court have Supreme Court judgment while the residents living there(Magodo) have proper title and the means to live there.
“So, in the car, I had spoken extensively with the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney General and we’ve resolved all of the issues.
“So, what we’ll see is that there is going to be a total stand down and tomorrow we’ll be inviting the representatives of the judgment creditors. We have actually started a committee, but I want to invite them again officially tomorrow by 11 O’clock to come over.
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“The state government, the residents association and the police will be at the meeting so that whatever it is that brought about this trouble and headaches will be laid bare.”
The Governor expressed the belief that the meeting will address the issues and will help stakeholders to reach an amicable resolution.
“I want everyone to ensure that peace is restored in the estate and that citizens go about their lawful businesses, knowing fully well that nobody will be harassed, no property will be trampled upon pending when we reach a resolution,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu assured the residents, saying, “None of your houses will be marked again. For those marked, we’ll try and sort the situation out.”
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 move around with their weapons.
He added, “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 was shot, what will be the reaction of the IGP.”
However, the Lagos State Government had described the invasion as unwarranted and vowed to prosecute those involved in the invasion.
Also, the Legal Adviser, Magodo Residents Association, Tunji Abdulhameed, while countering the judgment claim influencing the actions of the invaders, said there was no specification to the area, property, location of the plots of land in the judgment they got in 1993.
He added, “But 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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