Residents of Feru community in the Ado-Odo Local Government Area of Ogun State have bemoaned the actions of some officers of the Nigeria Police Force who escorted some thugs and land grabbers to damage the road connecting the community to town.
The residents were left bewildered when some hoodlums used heavy construction equipment to damage the road linking the community to Itele, Idi-Iroko, Atan and other major economic hubs of the state, in the presence of some heavily armed policemen.
According to the residents, the policemen are attached to the Itele and Sango-Ota police divisions.
The residents said the road was constructed by one Alhaji Gbenga Ibuoye of Gbenga Ibuoye Nigeria Limited in 2019 after his company was granted the licence to operate a small scale mining site in Feru.
They lamented that the destruction of the road will not only hamper economic activities in the community but also make them vulnerable to attacks by gunmen.
The local head (Baale) of Lafenwa, Itele, Mr Gafaru Tijani, said the road that was damaged was of immense benefit to all the people living within the area as he urged the Ogun State Commissioner of Police to intervene and ensure police officers indicted are reprimanded.
He said, “We want the government to bring to justice the perpetrators of the act of vandalism. The road has been helpful to us as our people were able to transport our farm produce to the town to trade.”
On his part, the local head (Baale) of Feru village, Mr Mutui Adeyemi, described the road vandalism as a criminal act.
“Why should the road constructed by an individual that benefits the whole community be maliciously damaged by land grabbers?” he asked.
He appealed to Governor Dapo Abiodun to ensure all officers involved in the vandalism of the sections of the road should be made to face the law.
Ibuoye, whose mining firm constructed the road, alleged that some influential individuals in the state are keen on hijacking his mining site for themselves.
He stated that the individuals connived with the police to take over his land, claiming it belongs to them.
Ibuoye said, “I purchased these 19 acres of land from the families of Gbadamosi Onigbeyin, Odunifa Faloun, and Falola and proceeded to obtain a red copy from the office of the Surveyor-General.
“After I constructed the road, some land grabbers led by one Kazeem Oluomo, Nuru Adeoye, Idowu Akanle and others suddenly surfaced out of the blues to challenge our rights over the land, claiming to be the legitimate owner even without a proof to justify such claims.
“They boasted about having the backing of a top police officer in the community, who they all refer to as Area Commander Monday Agbonika.
“Agbonika has been sending officers to harass us and making it difficult for us to operate smoothly despite that I have a court judgment and certified true ownership of the lands.”
Confirming the deployment of police officers to the community, the Area Commander, ACP Muyideen Obe, while speaking to journalists, said the officers were sent to take over the mining site belonging to Ibuoye.
He denied having knowledge of the road vandalism, noting that there was a directive from the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, to take over the mining site.
“Nobody vandalised it. There was a court order with a possession order that that place is taken, so that directive came from the Inspector General of Police.
“Policemen went there, and then decided to cut that place because if somebody said he has a mining licence, does he have possession over that land? Does he have authority and possession over that property?
“I don’t know who has briefed you; (but) it is a directive from the Inspector General of Police that that possession order must be carried out,” ACP Obe said.
Abimbola Oyeyemi, the Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun, when contacted, said he had not been briefed about the matter but promised that an investigation would be launched.