Hundreds of residents and business owners have been thrown into confusion following their inability to ply the Magodo Phase 2 estate gates to navigate their destinations in and out of the estate located in the Shangisha area of Lagos State.
THE PUNCH gathered that the Magodo Residents Association closed the estate gates after suspected landgrabbers led by men of the Nigerian police force invaded the estate to claim possession of property in the estate on Tuesday.
During the invasion, the suspected landgrabbers, while being fortified by the police, used red and brown inks to inscribe possession taken on various property in the estate.
The Legal Adviser, Magodo Residents Association, Tunji Abdulhameed, said the suspected landgrabbers were about invading the estate with a bulldozer when the estate management closed estate gates to prevent the action.
He said, “They came around 1pm yesterday; The land grabbers invaded the estate and the police gave them backing. I asked what they were doing here and the police said they are trying to enforce judgment.
“I asked for a copy of the judgment but no document was shown to me. What they showed was a newspaper publication which they did themselves to inform the world that they are the owner of the property.
“They had a judgment in 1993 and as far as I am concerned the judgment was not properly captured. The judgment said the government should allocate 549 plots to them with no specification to the area, property, location of the plots of land; in fact, there was nothing to ascertain the property they were talking about.
“The resident associations had a meeting in the evening and thereafter, we just saw a bulldozer at the front of our gate. The police didn’t go and were with them, the bulldozer is still at the other gate. That was why we closed the gate.
“We don’t know whether we are going to open the gate because we don’t know their plan as the land grabbers and policemen are still around. They have a motive they want to achieve; I think the purpose is to use the bulldozer to destroy property.”
Despite the estate gates being closed, our correspondent observed as residents and businessmen flooded the gate in a desperate attempt to gain entry.
THE PUNCH also heard as the stranded victims lamented missing their various appointments due to the condition.
Also, the effect of the gate closure led to a backlog of traffic that affected vehicular movements around the Magodo Phase 2 area.
The Chairman, Board of Trustee, Magodo Residents Association, Professor Ayodele Ogunye, said residents in the estate had constantly been subjected to different forms of land grabber attacks, adding that the state government should intervene to restore normalcy in the estate.
He said, “I have been living here since 1992 but we have been having problems with land grabbers until this case became enlarged. It is true that the supreme court had given judgment in the favor of the Adeyiga Family; they are to be giving 549 plots but that judgment did not say 549 plots in Magodo.
“Hence, the Lagos State Government allocated plots of land to them along Badagry and Ibeju Lekki. So far, about 300 of them have agreed to take those plots and these people continue to harass us. I have been to Alagbon three times this year on this issue.
“Yesterday, in the morning, these people besieged us; they said they were bailiffs trying to enforce the supreme court judgment. They are not Lagos State Government bailiff, if they were, they will wear their jackets. They went to hire some area boys to come in as bailiff.
“I spoke with the senior officer that led them and he said he got instruction from the top to follow them. We told them to show us the judgment they are enforcing, and they showed our lawyer a press release. Press release is not a court judgment or court instruction that they should bombard us.
“They were marking houses including houses we have been living together since 1992. We gathered that the government was not informed yesterday, how could they come into a government estate without clearance from the governor, the governor said he is not aware about this siege.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu had yet to respond to calls made to his phone number as of the time this report was filed.