80 persons rendered homeless in Kwara State over land dispute

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A dispute between two families in Kwara State has led to the destruction of several houses in Ara Village in Moro Local Government Area, thereby rendering over 80 people homeless.

According to residents of the area, some hefty men accompanied by policemen came into the community a few days ago and destroyed their homes after claiming to be carrying out a court judgment.

Counsel to one of the families involved, Mr. Gabriel Ademola-Bank, said that there had been a protracted legal battle between the Ile Atele and Ile Tuntun families over the ownership of the land.

 He said, “The case started in 1994 between the families and ran through all the courts of the land.  All the courts confirmed or affirmed the decision of the first court.

“The decision of the first court was that the plaintiff which is the Ile Atele, and Ile Tuntun should maintain the portions allotted to them. Without any notice or recourse to us but with the supervision of the police, 18 hefty men with sledge hammerscame into the community to demolish all houses there. To make matters worse, the next day, six youths who happen to be my clients, went to the police headquarters to report the matter but were all detained till the following day.

“This is total miscarriage of justice, suppression of the highest order. We want redress. It is an irreparable loss.”

The Public Relations Officer, Kwara State Police Command, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi, said that the police were not involved in the destruction of the buildings.

He stated that the police were there to ensure safety of all the parties and that there was no breakdown of law and order during the execution of the court judgment.

He said, “There is the court judgment from Upper Area Court to the Supreme Court.  The judgment was that each party hold on to a portion of the land that they gave evidence to. Police went to enforce the judgment of the court; we were not involved in the demolition of any house. We were only there to prevent any problem that might arise from the parties.  The people that demolished the houses were enforcing the Supreme Court judgment.”

Counsel to the Ile Tuntun family at the Supreme Court, Mr. Tunde Olomu,said that his clients only followed an order by executing the judgment.

He said, “The action of my client is legal. They enforced court judgment and committed no offence.

“In the process of executing the judgment, there were disputes and reference were made to the Chief Judge of Kwara State. The CJ set up a committee to look into the matter and also invited the survey department to look into the land. After the survey map, each party knew its own portion clearly.

“Notice was given to everyone who had structure on the land. There was another notice from the high court to them intimating them that they were coming to remove illegal structures in my client’s land but they did not take any action until execution was carried out. So no offence committed.”

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )

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