Despite rampancy and notoriety of ‘Omo Oniles’ – land grabbers in Ado-Odo, Ota, Igbesa, Agbara and other industrial areas with attendant forceful entry and illegal occupation of landed properties, violent and fraudulent conduct in relation to landed properties, Ogun state government has devised mechanism to ensure unhindered access to residential and industrial lands in the state.
The State government is considering dispute resolution mechanism to settle all issues relating to landed properties pending in courts either with rightful owners of such landed properties or land speculators and land grabbers with a view to improving ease of doing business in the state, especially to ensure unhindered access to lands by existing and prospective investors.
This plan is coming barely eight months after Governor Ibikunle Amosun had assented to the Bill passed into Law by Ogun State House of Assembly calling for 25-year imprisonment or death sentence on anyone found guilty of land grabbing and forceful takeover of landed properties in the state in addition to discounted and quick issuance of certificate of occupancy to beneficiaries.
Speaking at a meeting to mediate over land dispute between Sona Group and Igbodu family from Igbesa in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government, Bimbo Ashiru, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, declared that efforts in ensuring alternative dispute resolution mechanism to settle all land matters involving residents and investors were capable of improving parameters on ease of doing business in the state by creating enabling environment for investments.
He said at the meeting held in Abeokuta on Friday that, “We want to create enabling environment for businesses to thrive and the only way we can do that is by ensuring that the communities where companies are going to operate must be peaceful, we must work in peaceful co-existence or else, we are going to have problems. What we have done now is that we have been able to call the communities together.
“Sona Group has bought the land since 2014 and they have not been able to have access to it and the case is in Court, we just believe that staying in Court, it is going to be there forever. So, we have called all the communities and we have been able to identify all the problems; the families and everything and you could be rest assured that this issue has been resolved amicably. Owner of the land will be able to move to their land very soon.
“All the compensations that needed to be paid, will be paid. Initially, we have had some members of the family that have actually collected which is in Exco Accounts, but now we are going to have a holistic view of it and Sona Group is going to pay everybody as and when due, nobody will be cheated that is very important and that is what we are working on.
“But, the communities must ensure that they create enabling environment for the investors, because when these investors come, their children are going to be the beneficiaries of labour force, and I have told investors, they must give communities first option of treatment and I happy that most investors are already working on that. I must also warn those that foment troubles, those that hell bent on creating problem for our industrialization plan to desist.”
Earlier, Adesoji Fagbemi one of the representatives of Sona Group had told the meeting that Sona Group bought the disputed land for N271 million with valid land title documents from Ogun state government but, they were being denied access to the land, saying: “We were being threatened over our land, we want to pray to let Sona Group take full possession of the land, we don’t want them to encroach on our land.”
Responding, Ahmed Olaotan, General Secretary of aggrieved Igbodu Family, denied the allegation and said that they denied Sona Group perceived access to the land since the matter was before the Court and “Sona Group was using divide and rule system among the family members, we are going to co-operate with them if they do the needful. I am happy we are before government, we are going to do as directed here.”
Meanwhile,the Arokedi of Idi-Oke, Igbesaland, Oba Saheed Odusanya, lauded the State government for its timely intervention, explaining that all efforts made in the past by the community to resolve the issues had proved abortive, just as called on disgruntled members of the family to let peace reign and co-operate with government to resolve the impasse, pledging that community would continue to live in peace with investors.