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Nasty notes from Nice Estate

Posted by By Seye Olumide on 2005/06/06 | Views: 318 |

Nasty notes from Nice Estate


THOUGH called Nice Estate, there has been nothing that remotely qualifies to be called "nice" in the lives of residents of the fast-growing community, off Ilogbo Road, adjacent to Coca Cola Bottling Company in Ota, Ogun State.

*A gang of extortionists bring terror to a hitherto quiet community

THOUGH called Nice Estate, there has been nothing that remotely qualifies to be called "nice" in the lives of residents of the fast-growing community, off Ilogbo Road, adjacent to Coca Cola Bottling Company in Ota, Ogun State.

The land on which the estate, which has a population estimated at 10,000 was built, is said to have been originally owned by the Agangbo and Adelemo's families, before parcels of it were sold to individual buyers.

Over time, the estate grew, as more people developed their land, and settled into what were a quiet, peaceful co-existence with one another, and the local resident community.

Lately, all the peace and harmony have been shattered, as residents of the estate and even beyond to neighbouring village of Oloko, Alasia, Bore-Bole and Oke-Bale now live in fear.

To most of them, their woes can be traced to the activities of one of the original owners of the land, the Adelemos, particularly one of its sons called Kassim and his group, who they say go round terrorising the community, extorting money and destroying property belonging to those who refuse to yield to his demands.

Some of the residents claimed that the activities of a group allegedly linked to Adelemo usually besiege the estate with dangerous weapons, both in the daytime and night, has reached the state where residents and their families no longer move about freely in the community.

A petition signed by the chairman, Community Development Association of the Estate, Mr. Samuel Ajibola and other executive members read: "Kassim Adelemo happens to be one of the grandsons of the main vendor that sold out some of the parcel of lands in the community. But he said his gangs often come to the estate under the guise of landowners to forcefully collect money from landlords and their employees (bricklayers, carpenters and the lots working on the sites) and most time to foment troubles within the community.

"He moves in group with about eight motorcycles, each motorcycle often consists of three to four passengers carrying dangerous weapons such as cutlasses, broken bottles, knives and charms whenever they visit the community, either at night or during the day.

"On each visit they always unleash havoc on both properties and lives and whoever passes or moves within their area of operations cannot go free, such should count himself lucky if he does not receive machete cuts or beaten among other punishment."

Ajibola, however, said that recent developments have forced the residents to break their silence of over eight months but to cry for help before this time various reports made to Kassim's father, Chief Safiu Adelemo and some high chiefs in Ota yielded no positive response.

According to him: "The Workers' Day celebration of May 1, 2005 cannot be forgotten. This was one of the various visits Kassim and his gang made in recent times. Mr. Eniayewu that runs a drinking parlour was not spared on that day. They entered his restaurant forcefully and drove away all customers and people within the vicinity before embarking on a drinking spree without paying. It took the intervention of one of the Ota indigenes who also happens to be a landlord before they could beg him with N1,000 after drinking bottles of beer and breaking bottles and chairs."

Ajibola and his family members were not spared by the gang as he was chased away with broken bottles while some members of his household were beaten up".

Another member of the community, Mr. Ajibola Emmanuel told The Guardian that himself and members of his family were also beaten up by the gang. They also carted away some of the clothes left on the lines and some unused pipes when their demands were not met.

Ajibola said: "The clothes carted away were worth about N7,500. He was demanding for money, which I did not have since I didn't prepare for such".

Also, the cost of damage suffered by Mr. Genie Adesanya is yet to be quantified when Kassim and his gang levelled the construction works going on at his site on Friday, May 13, 2005 because he would not allow his land to be resold to one of Kassim's customers.

According to Adesanya: "The land had been bought from Kassim's grandfather years back when he (Kassim) was probably still a toddler. It was a great loss to me."

Also on Sunday, May 15, two days after pulling down the Adesanya's building, Kassim along with his gang came back to the estate to attack Otunba Lanre Martin. They came with motorcycles holding weapons and charms.

According to Martins: "It was in the afternoon, I was indoors when I heard voices at the gate. I rushed out and saw Kassim and his gang struggling with my security man, Hassan Mohammed. I tried to intervene but they pounced on me and tore my clothes.

"In the process, Hassan's right finger thumb was cut off while he sustained injuries on the other finger".

Another resident in the estate, Alhaja I. Arikewayo said: "Kassim has been threatening to kill me anytime he sees me. The last time he came to my house, I was not at home but the nine-year old boy, Jamiu Sobowale, whom he met at home, was beaten with the side of a cutlass on the head three times. It took the intervention of people around before he let the boy off. We can no longer live peacefully on the estate as long as Kassim is free. Government should come to our aid."

Ajibola said that the community does not know what Kassim actually wants from them. "Some of the residents had bought the land for over 14 to 16 years, until recently when Kassim started fomenting trouble. Now that he is in police custody, we are hearing rumour that as soon as he is released, residents in the estate should prepare to face the worst. We plead with the authority to save us. The mayhem had gotten to a peak. The matter requires prompt response since we cannot sleep with our eyes closed. Our children cannot go out unaided. Our wives, our lives and property are being threatened".

The spokesman of the Police Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Deputy Superintendent Olufemi Awoyale confirmed the matter to The Guardian.

According to him, "Kassim and four members of his gang are still in the police custody and investigations are still going on in the matter."

Allaying the fears of some of the residents about the possible attack on them by Kassim and his gang after, Awoyale said the police is always on the alert to apprehend any act contrary to the law even at that, since investigation of the matter is still on, necessary steps would be taken to ensure security to lives and property after the investigation.

Efforts made to reach Chief Salisu Adelemo and the traditional ruler of the community were futile.

But a source at the Olota of Ota's palace said the ruler was aware of the trouble in the estate and had mandated some of his chiefs to find a lasting solution to the matter.

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