Ben Dunno, Warri
The Oyovie family of Erovie quarters in Ozoro kingdom, Isoko North council of Delta State, has called on the Police Commissioner, Adeyinka Adeleke, to come to its assistance to recover over 150 plots of land allegedly seized by a serving federal lawmaker.
Specifically, the family demanded justice over what it described as oppression by a lawmaker representing the area (name withheld), whom it accused of fraudulently acquiring the family land alongside others all in the name of establishing a constituency project.
The family requested that the state police command approves its demand for police escort to enable the member have unhindered access to the Ogbomore bush that had been fenced with a gate and securely locked by the lawmaker to prevent them from entering the area.
Speaking to newsmen on behalf of the family in Ozoro during the weekend, Prince Kennedy Onorikuta noted that the need to carry out the survey of their landed property in the area had become imperative to enable them to ascertain the exact number of plots belonging to the said lawmaker had appropriated.
According to him, “we have been able to secure two separate court orders, one in October 2017 and the other in March 2018, compelling two Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) who had served in Ozoro division to provide us with an escort to access the land in question but they both declined before they were redeployed.
“And that is why we are now calling on the State Police Commissioner, Adeyinka Adeleke, to come to our aide by approving for us police escort that would lead us to the Ogbomore bush where the land is located to be able to carry out the survey to know the exact number of plots we have there because we are suspecting it could be more than that 150 plots.
“This whole fraudulent land acquisition process started in 2016, when this same lawmaker we voted for came and said he wanted to embark on a constituency project for the benefit of the community. Initially, we (the landowners) insisted on dialoguing with him on a lease agreement for our lands,” he said.
“But we were surprised when he started paying some persons N100,000 per plot and demanded for the deeds. Our family refused to be part of this arrangement because we wanted a situation where we all agree to leasing than an outright sale of the land.
“Sensing that our family was not ready to play along in his ploy to give N100,000 for a plot, he decided to just fence the entire area estimated at 800 plots with my family land alone – the Oyovie – accounting for more than 150 plots and thereby denying us access to the land in question,” Prince Onorikuta stated.
Reacting to this request, CP Adeyinka Adeleke, admitted that although cases of land disputes had been on the increase across Delta communities in recent times, but assured that the command would revisit the claims and request of the family, in order to know where to come in.