The Eyin Osa Resettlement Committee, Lagos State, has lamented the continued encroachment on their land by suspected land grabbers.
The committee alleged that a realtor, identified simply as Murphy, recently invaded the expanse of land lying at Eyin Osa, Epe Expressway, Epe, with thugs and policemen from the Lagos State Environment and Special Offenses Enforcement Unit (task force).
It is also claimed that Murphy invaded the property last Tuesday and demolished some property in a bid to take over the land despite the intervention of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa.
PUNCHMetro had reported that the Lagos State Government acquired landed property of the community for a project in the Lekki Free Trade Zone.
The residents were, however, compensated with land as the administration of the landed property was given to the Eyin Osa Resettlement Committee.
However, the committee had been battling land agents, who reportedly sold the property to unsuspecting developers and realtors.
The community said Murphy first invaded the land in 2022 and chased away lawful occupants.
“Our properties have been demolished and fenced up by Murphy and his thugs under the protection and watch of the task force,” the community said in a statement.
The auditor of the committee, Dada Yesiru, said anyone who acquired land without the involvement of the signatories of the committee was a land grabber.
He said, “That land in question belongs to the Eyin-Osa community, we don’t know him (Murphy). He came to our land and started erecting a fence in which the matter has been reported to the Commissioner of Police.
“Some notorious people sold the land to them. But anyone who wants to buy land there and our signature does not appear, that means the person bought fake land, because we are the rightful owners.”
The PUNCH had reported on June 16, 2023, that the Lagos CP, Idowu Owohunwa, in a meeting at his office, urged all parties to maintain the peace.
The meeting was attended by Murphy; ACP Shola Jejeloye of the Lagos Task Force, and Lagos State Security Trust Fund member, Dr Ayo Ogunsan, alongside members of the Eyin-Osa community.
During the meeting, Murphy claimed that he purchased 100 acres of land from one Alhaji Shittu.
But Owohunwa said a careful review of all claims showed that Alhaji Shittu and whoever he represented were not recognized by the Lagos State Government, thereby rendering any transaction conducted with them invalid.
He said the committee was the legitimate body overseeing and having a valid Certificate of Occupancy issued by the government.
When our correspondent reached out to the Press and Public Affairs Officer of the Task Force, Raheem Gbadeyan, over the allegation that the task force accompanied Murphy to the property, he requested pictorial evidence.
He said, “There are times when people see any policeman wearing tactical jackets and they believe he is a task force official, but not all policemen on the road wearing tactical jackets are from the task force. If there is any pictorial evidence, send it and I will know how to react.
“The truth of the matter is that the task force is not land grabbers; what we do is try to enforce the law, create a kind of sanity, and mediate between two people to restore law and order. So, it’s not about supporting someone against the other.
“However, sometimes, our officers only give security backups to certain agencies and so the agencies in this regard would be in a position to respond to things like this.”
He, however, responded via WhatsApp after viewing the pictures our correspondent sent to him.
“I cannot say precisely that the vehicle is ours, but I will get back to you,” he added.
Murphy refused to pick up his calls, which rang six times.
He also did not respond to a text message sent to him.