Some residents of Oniru Private Estate in Lagos State have described the alleged sealing of their properties by Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, the Oniru of Iruland, as illegal, and have called on Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, to intervene.
The residents made their plea in an open letter to Governor Sanwo-Olu published on 8 July, entitled, ‘Open Letter to Mr Governor’ and signed by ‘Concerned Residents of Oniru Private Estate’.
According to the residents, they derived their land title from the Oniru Chieftaincy Family, which they claimed have the approved certificate of occupancy.
The residents said “no one has challenged our titles to their properties until now”, adding that the Oniru had usurped the powers of the Lagos State government by sealing up the properties without any directive from the governor or court order.
The letter read: “Sir, the Oniru Chieftaincy Family is the beneficiary of the Certificate of Occupancy No. 83/83/1991AW dated 30th December 1991 and it was from the Family that we all derived our title. We reiterate that there had been no issues regarding the title to our various properties, until the surprising emergence of the present Oba of Iruland (Oba Abdul Wasiu Omogbolahan Lawal).
“It is unlawful, uncustomary and illegal for the new Oba to be challenging the acts of his predecessors from which we derive our proprietary rights. His predecessors acted pursuant to the authority of the Family as a whole. More so, sealing up of properties within Lagos State is an executive action that can only be done by your office or its agents/personnel pursuant to existing laws and/or a court order. The Oba is neither an agent of your office acting pursuant to existing law which permits him to seal up any premises nor is he acting pursuant to any court order. The Oba’s actions are illegal.
“This Oba has been forcefully invading, hijacking and grabbing developed and undeveloped lands within the Estate, with the use of thugs and miscreants (bearing charms, machetes, guns and other dangerous weapons)…Legitimate owners are now being harrassed, intimidated and beaten up. In the spirit of running a parallel government, the new Oba is also abducting persons found on construction sites and illegally detaining them at the palace.
“This ugly development has brought about a sense of insecurity in our once safe and peaceful community. We are now worried about the safety of our lives, properties, and investments as we now find ourselves in a situation where the new Oba has assumed executive, judicial and legislative functions.”
The residents claimed that going by Section 36 of the Obas and Chiefs of Lagos State Laws of 1981, the allegations were enough to depose Lawal as the Oniru.
Since the emergence of Oba Lawal as the 15th Oniru last month, there have been disagreements over the lands in the Oniru area of Lagos.
There have been confrontations between the palace and the children of the late Oniru of Iruland, Oba Idowu Abiodun, with the new monarch directing all tenants and lessees to stop transacting with any individual.