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The drama ensured on Tuesday when Governor Sanwo-Olu led members of his cabinet to visit residents protesting against the continuous presence of armed policemen in the Magodo Estate.
The police invasion of the estate may be connected to the lingering court case involving the state government and members of the Shangisha Landlords Association.
Since 1982, the state government and members of the Shangisha Landlords Association have been involved in a legal battle involving plots of land in Magodo.
The supreme court, in its ruling, ordered the state government to give back members of Shangisha Landlords Association 549 plots of land before it was “fraudulently” acquired over 38 years ago.
Since the supreme court verdict, residents of the estate have been facing threats of demolition of their houses by the Shangisha Landlords Association.
The policemen accompanied by suspected land grabbers and members of the Shangisha were about to invade the estate with a bulldozer when the estate management ordered a closure of the gate around 6 am on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
It took the intervention of Sanwo-Olu before the gates were reopened, as the Inspector-General of Police, Baba Usman, reportedly promised to withdraw the policemen.
However, the mild drama ensued when Sanwo-Olu asked the police team leader to call his superiors, who gave the order to invade the estate, that the governor wanted the decision rescinded.
But the CSP refused and told the governor that they were in the estate on the instruction of the IGP through the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) and has not been directed to leave.
Sanwo-Olu said, “It is a case between the supposed people and Lagos State Government; it has nothing to do with the residents.
“Please, can you call your superior in Abuja and tell them that the governor is here and as the chief security officer, you don’t have any business to be in my state right now and I want you to disengage.”
Responding, the police officer said, “I am here on the instruction of the Inspector-General of Police, through the AGF. I am too small or too low to call them.
“Your excellency, with due respect sir, you can call them. It is not my duty to call because I am too low to do that Sir.”
When the governor asked him who his superiors were? He said the “Inspector General of Police, through the AGF.”
Mr Sanwo-Olu said he had spoken to the Attorney General earlier in the day and he isn’t aware of the police presence.
But the police officer said, “he was expecting a call to disengage the “several” armed police officers within the estate.”
When asked the actual number of policemen at the estate, the adamant CSP told the governor: “My men are here; they are all over the place; I cannot precisely tell you how many we are. For security purpose, I cannot tell you the number.”
Describing their operation as illegal, Sanwo-Olu who was apparently disappointed, reiterated that the AGF wasn’t aware of the police presence.
He added: “They (policemen) are not from the Lagos State Police Command. They said they are from Abuja. I don’t know what other interest they have beyond keeping the peace of the country. This is not an expectation that I expect from them because they don’t have any business here.”
Watch the video below:
Sanwo-Olu Addresses Magodo Residents
Speaking with journalists and aggrieved residents, Sanwo-Olu, who appealed for calm, said a meeting had been scheduled for Wednesday with the judgment creditors, adding that representatives of the association and the police would also be involved.
He said, “When the first attempt happened about two weeks ago, I intervened and if you remember very well, the action was immediate and there were no incidents again and throughout the festive period, we had started communication.
“One of the things to first understand is that the residents, the people that have gone to court and the police are my subjects. I have the responsibility to ensure that fairness and equity is entrenched.
“The people that have come said they have Supreme Court judgment, rightly so. The residents living here have proper titles and means to live here; and of course the Nigeria Police.
“In the car, I spoke extensively with the IGP and with the Honourable Attorney-General and we have resolved all the issues. What we will see is that there will be a total stand down and tomorrow, around 11am, we will be inviting representatives of the judgment creditors.”
The governor said a committee had been set up to invite all parties concerned to his office, adding that the state government would resolve the matter.
He urged residents to go about their lawful business, assuring that nobody would be harassed or their property touched.
He said, “All of you have been wonderful, so, let us continue to maintain the peace that we have in Magodo and I can assure you that none of your houses will be marked again and the ones that have been marked, we will try and see how we will sort it out because war doesn’t take anybody anywhere; it is on the table that we will all resolve it.
“I want to appeal to all of you to stand down and go back to your houses as nothing will happen to anyone. I am here to ensure that Magodo continues to remain in peace and safe for our residents. Whatever property that has been locked would be opened as everything would be resolved.”
KanyiDaily recalls that two weeks ago, Magodo residents had cried out over plans to demolish some houses in the estate by members of a family who claimed to be the original owner of the land.
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