Ibadan residents raise alarm over quit notice by Nigerian Army

Daniel Agbolade

Residents of Mesiogo Estate in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, Sunday raised an alarm over their continuous harassment and threat by men of 2nd Division, Nigerian Army, Odogbo Ibadan, who have been laying claim to their lands.

The residents appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and other prominent Nigerians to come to their aid.

The resident said a letter directing them to evacuate their belongings latest by today, Monday, November 26, 2018 by Nigerian Army, was giving them sleepless nights.

Spokesperson of Mesiogo community, Mr. Amos Ishola, while addressing journalists, said the claim by the Army that the land in question belonged to them was a ruse, stressing that Nigerian Army was trying to circumvent the ongoing court processes.

According to him, the Army's letter entitled, "Final quit notice of possession of Nigerian Army land at Adekunle Fajuyi cantonment Ibadan" dated, November 12, 2018, demanding hundreds of thousands of naira from landowners in the community was another grandstanding efforts to take laws into their hands and use coercive power on 'bloody civilians' living in the area.

A letter written to one of the landlords, Mr. Yinka Oyeniyi, by the Army authorities, and signed by EM Mafuyai, a Colonel, on behalf of GOC, 2 Division, said the affected landlord must quit within 14 days of receipt of the letter or be ready to pay N780,000 to the Recovery Committee of the Nigerian Army at Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment, Ibadan latest November 26 (today) or risk being "forcefully ejected from the land and all rights of allocation made to you shall be revoked."

Ishola while speaking further said the Nigerian Army was hellbent on wrecking the helpless and hapless citizens and further subject them to undue trauma by their latest letter, adding that, many had through the earlier threats been sent to early graves.

He urged Mr Buhari to prevail on the military authority to abide by the law and allow the ongoing matter to be dispensed with in the spirit of equity, justice and fairplay.

He said, "Many of us are jobless. We are not taking up arms and we are helpless and harmless but we still have our right in a democratic dispensation; our rights to fair hearing, justice should not be taken for granted. We are already before the court of competent jurisdiction and they should allow equity, justice and fairness to prevail in determining the matter purely on its merit.

"They have their claim and we have our own claim too, let the court decide the matter on its merit. We are a set of defenceless people and we don't want any trouble visited on us and our family members.

"We procured all the necessary documents for acquisition and development of our property and they were duly registered with appropriate authorities. It is with both the state and local government. Some of us had C of O signed by a military administrator; a solider himself who would never had appended his signature on a military land.

"He must have ensured that all due processes were followed and the professionals in the land ministry, especially the surveyor-general would have ensured that there was no encumbrance before the governor gave out the C of O to some of our members".

It was learnt that Oyo State High Court 11 presided over by Mr Ladiran Akintola, had last year ruled that the status quo be maintained on the land, pending the final determination of the case instituted by Mesiogo Landlords Association.

The community had also written a letter dated November 19, 2018 to Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey, Secretariat, Ibadan requesting for urgent intervention and clearance of Mesi-Ogo "Deed of conveyance dated March 3, 1965 and registered as page 60 in volume 826 at the Lands Registry, Ibadan".

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