By Christopher Oji
Managing Director, Gbenga Ibuoye Nigeria Limited, a mining firm at Feru Ado-Odo Otta area of Ogun State, Mr Gbenga Ibuoye, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Adamu, to withdraw policemen stationed at the entrance of his firm.
Mr Ibuoye wants the IGP to obey the Court order restraining the police and land grabbers from disturbing his business. He said that all efforts to resume business operations in his company has been prevented by the police deployed to the area by the IGP.
The mining firm was granted an Order restraining all defendants after its legal counsel, O.O Oniyire, filed a Motion on Notice with suit number – FHC/AB/CS/26/202, before the Abeokuta Federal High Court seeking the intervention of the court over reported invasion of his client’s property by some hoodlums and land grabbers. They had alleged that they were empowered by some high ranking officers within the Nigeria Police Force.
Joined as defendants in the suits are: Abraham Idowu Akanle, Taiwo Adenike Akanle, Kazeem Ajiboye (A.K.A Oluomo), Kabiru Odunsi (A.K.A Alumi), Nurudeen Adeoye, Mutiu Oriade, Rasheed Dada (A.K.A Akeda), Faisu Abiodu and Nigeria Police Force.
As at yesterday, at least 40 policemen including Mobile Police Force were stationed at end of the road leading to the site since January to prevent the firm from operating. The access road was reportedly vandalized and fenced by some hoodlums and land grabbers, who the community claimed operated under the watch of some officers in January 20th, 2021. As at Tuesday when reporters visited the place, over 40 fully armed policemen led by the Sango Otta Police Area Commander, ACP Muyideen Obe cordoned-off the access road to the site, preventing workers from entering the site.
Speaking to reporters, the Otta Police Area Commander, ACP Muyideen Obe, said that he was in the community to maintain peace and order, adding that he was acting under the instructions of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
According to Obey, he has gone through the Court order and there was no where the order asked the police to leave the community and the order did not say that Ibouye should resume work on the site. He said since the order did not allow Ibouye access to his mining site , he would wait till April 21, when the court would resume sitting on the case.
In a chat with journalists, Ibuoye condemned the undue interferences by the police over his mining operations, wondering why the police would chose to ignore a court order to further interrupt his legitimate business activities.
He said:“Despite the court order restraining all the defendants from their illegal activities of disturbing my business operations, it is unfortunate to note that the police who are supposed to be the custodian of the law, are at the forefront of disregarding it.
“The Area Commander is deliberately misinterpreting the court order which clearly restrained all the defendants from disturbing my business activities. The order did not restrict me from doing my business; neither did it say my business operations should be halted till April 21. It is obvious the police are boldly disregarding the content of the law.
According to him, his mining license is expected to run from July, 8, 2020 to July,7, 2025: “Already, since the Area Commander took over from his predecessor, he has, with his constant attacks on Gbenga Ibuoye Nigeria Limited, succeeded in crippling our business activities for over one year. Annual remittance due to the Federal Government from my company has also been affected. Many people will lose their jobs if the police refuse to vacate the site.
“Whose interest are the police fighting for? Since I started construction of the Feru Road and mining in the area, nobody has come to challenge me. Nobody is fighting in the area. So, I am still confused whose interest the police are fighting for if not land grabbers. Since I started my mining business here in Feru, there has never been any crisis or violence here to warrant the deployment of police officers here. I am shocked at the deployment of up to 60 police operatives here. This is demeaning of such a professional institution that is supposed to protect law abiding citizens.
“The purpose of the deployment raises moral question of what the police are wasting their workforce who are supposed to be fighting crime, especially violent crime”.
Mr Azeez Jimoh, spokesman for Feru community, said that that the piece of land upon which the mining site operates was sold to Ibuoye by the three Feru families which are Odunifa, Onigbeyin and Falola family.
“Let me state here that we don’t understand the interest of the police in this issue. We wonder who sent them because there is no crisis here. Rather, it has always been relatively peaceful until the interferences by the police. At no point have we also been invited by the police to determine our stand in all these.”