The property tussle between the children of the late Oniru of Iruland, Abiodun Idowu Oniru and the new Oba, Gbolahan Lawal has worsened as residents of Oniru Estate, Lekki area of Lagos have written to the governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, to intervene in the matter.
Below is a full transcript of the letter written by the residents;
Dear Mr Governor,
We are the residents of Oniru Private Estate in Lekki Area of Lagos State. Some of us acquired our proprietary interest in the Estate over 25 (twenty-five) years ago. The Estate has been peaceful and harmonious over the years. The estate at the moment is now quite well developed with good roads, infrastructure, drainages, security and the houses are well laid-out.
We have seen the value of our investment double, triple, quadruple and continue to grow. We must mention that all of us did our due dilligence before investing in real estate within Oniru Private Estate. Till date, no one has challenged our titles to our properties until now!
As we all know in Nigeria, all land is vested in the Governor of the State and the Governor has the power to grant statutory right of occupancy to persons within the state. Sir, the Oniru Chieftaincy Family is the beneficiary of the Certificate Of Occupancy No. 83/83/1991 AW 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 with great consternation and concern that we write this public letter to your office. The new Oba has illegally arrogated to himself the power to seal up people’s properties within the Oniru Private Estate. We, therefore, find it pertinent to seize this opportunity to educate the new Oba on what his role is and the function of his new office.
The new Oba is only recognised as the leader of the community. The new Oba is not the Oniru Chieftaincy Family. The function of his office is to maintain the peace and cordiality in the Family and community. Your Office’s recognition that he is the “leader” of the Oniru Chieftaincy Family and your consequent installation of him as Oba does not equate to the grant of a statutory right of occupancy to him personally over any land in the Estate. The Oba alone can not act on behalf of the Oniru chieftaincy family. His recognition is ceremonial. He derives his authority from the Family. Any action not sanctioned by the elders and other members of the Family (as a whole) is null, void and of no effect.
In light of the above background on the role and function of the Oba of Iruland, it is very clear that 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 properties within Lagos State is an executive action that can be done only by your office or its agents/personnel pursuant to the existing laws and/or a court order. The Oba is neither an agent of your office acting pursuant to existing laws which permits him to seal up any premises nor is he acting pursuant to any court order. The Oba’s actions are illegal!
We believe the several illegal actions by the new Oba within the estate after he assumed office is no longer news to your excellency. These illegal actions have been the subject of several viral news cycle on social media. 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).
The Oba has constituted himself into a parallel government and has vested himself with the authority to be the investigator, prosecutor, judge and enforcer over our properties by invading and sealing up legally and validly purchased properties without recourse to the protections afforded us by the laws of Lagos State and Nigeria. Legitimate owners are now being harassed, 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. The ugly development has brought about a sense of insecurity in a 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, judiciary and legislative functions.
We, therefore, call on your office to call this new Oba to order. he lacks any executive, judicial or legislative power over any property within the Estate. It is our constitutional right to peaceful enjoyment of our proprietary investments within the Estate. After all, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 still reigns supreme in Nigeria. The several illegal actions of this new Oba is enough to have him deposed in accordance with Section 36 of the Obas and Chiefs of Lagos State law 1981.
Dear Mr Governor, Your Excellency recognised and installed this new Oba. he answers to you. please call him to order!!!!
We look forward to your prompt intervention and response to this letter, either by addressing same to the community directly or an open letter to the press.
We are much obliged.
CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF ONIRU PRIVATE ESTATE