Two land agents, 67-year-old Mutairu Owoeye and his son, Ganiyu Owoeye, were brought before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for alleged demolition of 44 buildings belonging to some residents of Ibeju-Lekki communities, Lagos State.
The affected communities include Oko-Olomi, Adeba, Itapamapa Adeba, Oko-Ile, Oko-Idioro, and Idi-Ope, which covered about 1,561 hectares of land.
While Mutairu was arraigned on four counts, six counts were preferred against his 42-year-old son.
The police said Mutairu, Ganiyu and other suspects invaded the communities on April 17, wielding guns and other weapons and demolished the buildings estimated at millions of naira.
PUNCH Metro learnt the suspects also carted away a Pathfinder, an Xtera and a Toyota Camry owned by one of the residents, Miniru Salia. The vehicles were reportedly valued at N7m.
Ganiyu, who was also charged with unlawful possession of firearms, was said to have shot a resident, Saheed Olore, during the attack which lasted for hours.
Our correspondent gathered that three pump-action guns, a double-barrelled gun, as well as two live cartridges, were recovered by policemen who also raided Ganiyu’s hotel in Oko Olomi at about 10am on October 14.
The offences, according to the police, contravene sections 56, 228, 285, 328, 348 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The charges read in part, “That you, Mutairu Owoeye, of Kilometre 36 Abeokuta Expressway, Ogun State, and Ganiyu Owoeye, of Owoeye Street, Sango Ota, and others at large, at about 8am in Ibeju Lekki communities, within a large wide size of 1,561 hectares of land with different buildings within the jurisdiction of this court, did conspire together and armed yourselves with guns and other weapons.
“You demolished the following persons’ houses: Miniru Salia, Raji Adisa, Kamol Agoro, Bariu Abuogunloko, Edward Onwunle, Tolani Anifowoshe, Tajudeen Eleku, Kufuli Babatunde, Waliu Alabi, Mohammed Quadri, Ajoke Abiodun, Taiwo Agbaje, Adekanbi Ismail, Saheed Oloore, Kolawole Oladele, Ayinde Dehinde, Elejo Alidu, Bofa Amusan, Adediran Samuel and Abiodun Raaheed.
“Others are Ayodeji Raheem, Alhaji Adekunle Openiyi, Bashiru Akeem, Abeeb Agbaje , Chief Taiwo Agbaje, Dr Fatai Moshood, Amos Adesanya, Benson Oyibo, Stephen Legend, Funke Eyiwunmi, Alhaja Ebudola, Isaac Emokpae, Bright Aiwekhae, S. Agbaje, Alhaji Fatai Bello, Lasisi Akinola, Dennis Okpai, Eniola Babatunde, Anthony Ololade, Baale Faliku Raji, Edward Onwunle, Chief Wayidi Arepo, Mrs. Chima Okpaleke and Baale of Okolomi, Lateef Eleku.
“That you, Mutairu Owoeye, Ganiyu Owoeye and others at large, did take away and converted one Pathfinder, valued at N2.5m, one Xtera, valued at N3.5m, and one Toyota Camry worth N1m, property of Miniru Salia, as well as 150 cows.”
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected summary trial.
The defence counsel, A.O. Isaac, a former Lagos magistrate, prayed the court to grant bail to his clients, making reference to Section 115, Administration of Criminal Justice of Lagos State, 2011.
“They had been in police custody in Abuja since last Tuesday. They were driven to Lagos from Abuja through road and have suffered a lot. The police granted them bail. About a month ago, the first defendant (Mutairu) was arraigned for another case. We are pleading that he should be granted bail on self-recognizance,” he added.
The police prosecutor, Kehinde Oluwole, opposed the bail application on the grounds that investigation had yet to be concluded.
He said, “We oppose the application because investigation is still ongoing. We urge this court to give a date for mention. There are still some suspects that are yet to be picked.”
After the prosecutor could not produce a remand warrant, the presiding magistrate, Miss. A.O. Awogboro, admitted the two defendants to bail in the sum of N2m each, with two sureties each in like sum. She added that the sureties must be related to the defendants by blood and must be residents within Lagos State.
The case was adjourned till December 15, 2016.