Kelebe-Omu land owners association accuses Nigerian Army of defile court order

The controversies surrounding ownership of the land between Kelebe-Omu Land Owners Association and the Nigerian Army came up on a fresh note as the battle over ownership which has gotten Court involvement in the past years is still currently in motion and has been pinched on a wall now.

Voice Air Media Correspondent who monitored the issue on a radio program aired on Fresh 109.5 FM, Osogbo on Thursday, June 9, 2022 reported that, the Chairman of Kelebe-Omu Land Owners Association, Chief Amodu Akanbi also double as the Olupona of Osogboland who represented the association alongside with Secretary, Folohunsho Sulaiman said the case has been in Court since 2011.

According to Chief Amodu; “Owners of the land comprises 46 communities, back in the days our fathers were farmers who planted Cocoa yam, Maize, Kola nut, and cassava; and it is from the sales of the products they use to cater for their families before the Army came to forceful claim the land of the 46 communities.

“In 1973, I and our fathers are on the farms working before the Nigerian Army in their numbers with their face covered came over with guns and told us to leave the farm and never to come to our farmlands anymore that they are the owner of the land”, Chief Oluponna explained.

He gave further clarity that the issues of the land have prompted the untimely death of their forefathers and also spoke about the court engagement in the matter.

“We ran to seek help from the then paramount ruler of Osogbo, the Ataoja, who said he doesn’t know anything about the Army invasion. It was on this matter many of our fathers died.

“In 2003, we met a company on our land, telling us that Nigerian Army gave them the authority to be selling this particular land.

“We took the case to Court as we couldn’t solve the issue on our own, the case was taken to appeal court in Akure, on the three occasions the court scheduled for the hearing of the case, the respondent and the then Attorney General of the Federation didn’t show up.”

“We took the case again to the appeal court in Akure based on the Army claim that it took us so long to approach court to seek the return of our lands, and the unanimous judgement by the three judges of the appeal court said that the Nigerian Army is just a tenant and once a tenant is always a tenant. The court then ruled that it doesn’t have jurisdiction to give back the land to us and then transferred the case to the State High Court in Osogbo in year 2020 for further rulings.”

Chief Oluponna also talked about the contribution of the past and present Ataoja of Osogbo on the case and the Army’s reaction during the appearances in the Court.

“During the hearing, the Nigerian Army shown the court via its lawyer, a letter claiming that the land was on requisition and not on acquisition.”

“They brought caterpillars to destroy the land of our fathers without even acquiring it.”

“In March 2021, the court gave an injunction that both the Nigerian Army and Kelebe-Omu Land Owners Association should go to the land. But Army didn’t listen, they kept selling the graves and the lands, and they didn’t keep to the court orders.”

“The late Ataoja Iyiola Matanmi II, gave us his consent to take the case to court, the current Ataoja Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun Larooye II is also helping us on this matter.”

Answering the question on how did Kelebe-Omu Land Owners Association know that the Armies is still on the land, he said: “We met three big pillars which were installed on the lands and while brick layers are currently working on the land as we speak.”

When a telephone caller on the show asked about the reason they didn’t file an application on the case of the army going to the land as against the court orders, Kelebe-Omu Land Owners Association’s lawyer, O.F Muhammad, revealed that the court has the power to protect lands so that when the court gives its verdict the land will be intact.
“We have the permission to file an application against the army, but if we do so it will delay the judgment on the case,” Muhammad added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *