Some residents of Igbokuta/Gberigbe community at Ijede Local Government Area of Ikorodu, Lagos State have alleged invasion by landgrabbers and operatives of the Intelligence Response Squad in their community
They also accused the officers, whose services were employed by the landgrabbers, of shooting indiscriminately at villagers, hitting them with vehicles and destroying valuables in the process.
In a report sent to SaharaReporters, the residents also alleged that the police officers took away a few motorbikes belonging to community members and left many injured.
The report read: “IRT officers in connivance with Kamarudeen Lamina, aka Sir Kay; Akinrinle Micheal, aka Amat and Layiwola Jimoh Nosiru, who are known land-grabbers unleashed terror on people of Igbokuta/Gberigbe community of Ijede Local Government on February 18, 2021.
“The trio mentioned above are bigwig land-grabbers who employed the IRT policemen led by Inspector Hameed Olakunle Oyewole.
“The landgrabbers sought the engagement of the IRT officers who came to the community to shoot at residents, hit them with vehicles and destroy properties and valuables, including houses. They also took away a few motorbikes belonging to community members. Scores were injured while an elderly man was not spared in the barbaric act of the officers.
“The officers were alleged to have also taken N22,000.00 from one Aremu Wahab while another person's motorbike was also stolen by the officers.”
They also said two residents of the community, Jamiu and Lukman, were arrested by the IRT officers after being accused of committing a crime they knew nothing about.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, a resident simply identified as Yunus, said some thugs had accompanied the party and unleashed terror on the people by breaking glass windows and doors of houses.
He also accused the suspected thugs shooting indiscriminately at people and robbing them of their possessions during the day and at night.
According to him, the people are desperately seeking the intervention of the state government as they cannot report to the Imota police station for fear of being arrested.
He said, “Even those policemen that came with the land-grabbers were shooting indiscriminately at people, in a place where we have children, pregnant women and other vulnerable sets of people who might not be able to run to escape danger.
“The police at Imota police station say it's none of their businesses. Even we we can't go to the police station because we fear that we may be locked up. In December 2020, we petitioned the area commander on this issue because it has been going on for 12 years. He assigned two officers who followed us to see how the thugs had damaged someone's property. When we got there, these thugs beat an officer, removed his teeth and collected his ID card from him.
“Immediately, we wrote a petition to the police headquarters in Abuja, and they also wrote a petition against us. Those in Abuja saw that they were thieves. The person who brought them is not the original beneficiary of that land; his father's house is in Akure and he is claiming another person's inheritance in Lagos.
“When the police saw the trouble we were facing, they warned those guys that they shouldn't threaten us. They asked us all to sign an undertaking that we would maintain peace for three weeks. We were still in the process of maintaining peace when they suddenly went to bring some policemen and thugs last Thursday, shooting at people, stealing and doing all sorts of things in town. They shot at one of the family members who owns the house; the police were actually shooting at him.”
For Dele Bello, one of the residents who was shot, the duty of the government to protect its people is long forgotten.
Bello said he only escaped death because he had been ‘spiritually fortified’. He said he would have been dead if not for that.
“I was shot at, someone pointed at me. I was just coming into the street when I suspected someone was pointing at me. I didn't know the thugs were already in the street. I saw the bike man (commercial motorcyclist) who pointed at me and asked him why he did that, he's someone I know.
“Immediately the policemen saw that I stopped the guy, they started shooting from afar. They were chasing after me with bullets. One hit me but I'm recovering already. If I had nothing on me, I could have died.”
He said he no longer could no longer sleep at home for fear of being killed by thugs who had taken over the community, noting that they once attacked people during a community meeting and seized their phones.
“I don't sleep at home; I move from one place to another. I've left the house with my family. We don't have anywhere to stay now. We just pass the night anywhere. I can't go to my house because it is one of the houses the landgrabbers are interested in. They've laid a siege to a house my mother inherited from her father.
“These thugs are so rude that while the community was having a meeting, they went there to collect people's phone, beat them up, and destroyed people's property. My younger brothers' house was burgled; they went in through the window. They took everything in his house.”
Bello also recalled that a young man was shot during the invasion of Igbokuta but rather than report to the police station, he left for Osogbo for treatment.
“A very young man was shot and we told him to report at the station so the matter would be treated, but he ran away. He said he didn't want the police to say he was an armed robber. They've taken the young man to Osogbo for treatment now, we hope he gets better. We don't have a government,” he said.
Speaking further, Yunus said the affected persons had petitioned the police headquarters in Abuja on the current situation.
“We've spoken with them and they are processing it. As it stands now, those IRT officers went with two community people, Jamiu and Lukman. We don't know whether they want to kill them or keep them or maybe they've poisoned them because we were told that they were sick.
“The police have arrested them for three days now, is it proper? A case that is in the court of law and we can't report to Imota police station. The station has been bought over by these bandits, even the Divisional Police Officer there,” he said.