Tension as Soldiers Disrupt Land Clearing, Abduct Two in Osun

There was tension in the Kelebe area of Osogbo on Monday morning when soldiers stormed a gathering of the Kelebe-Omu Landowners Association.

In the ensuing mayhem, one of the drivers of the caterpillar employed by the landowners and another member of the association was whisked away by the soldiers.

The landowners had gathered to enforce the judgment of an Osun State High Court sitting in Ile-Ife.

Recall that Justice A. O. Ayoola had on January 10, 2023, affirmed that the association members were the rightful owners of the land in dispute.

Without an appeal from the NiNigeriangeria Army, the court also gave the association the go-ahead to possess the land through a warrant of possession.

The Chairman of the Association, Chief Amodu Akanbi reacting to the development revealed that two of their members have been abducted and taken to the Nigerian Army Engineering Construction Command, Ede, Osun State.

Amodu called on President Bola Tinubu, Governor Ademola Adeleke and Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja to intervene to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary tension.

He said, “After the judgment, we discovered that the Nigerian Army was selling plots on the property. We approached the court with the evidence and it was tendered as exhibits in contempt of court.

“We came here again to enforce the court judgment and the soldiers attacked us. Two of our members have been abducted and taken away. Phones have been seized and several of our properties confiscated.

“We want Nigerians, President Bola Tinubu and Governor Ademola Adeleke to intervene and make the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja see the reason why violence should be avoided. Osun State is known for peace and peace is what we want.”

The landowners had in a protest early in the year asked the Osun State House of Assembly to intervene in the matter.

The Nigerian Army had also reacted to the ongoing land dispute with the Kelebe-Omu Landowners Association early in the year.

The Nigeria Army through the Director of Public Relations, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu said it has appealed the judgment ordering the service to relinquish possession of 3,646 acres of land located between the Kelebe area and Omu Stream in Osogbo/Olorunda Local Government Areas of Osun State.

In the statement in February 2024, General Nwachukwu said the service had filed an appeal to overturn the high court decision in Osun at the Akure Division of the Court of Appeal.

The Nigeria Army spokesperson maintained that following the appeal, all parties were advised to maintain status quo till the appellate court delivers its verdict on the matter.

He assured that “the Nigerian Army will continue to work in collaboration with relevant authorities to address any legitimate concern and ensure that justice prevails.

“We appreciate the very apt and timely intervention of Honourable members of the House of Representatives and the Osun State House of Assembly in the matter. We also solicit the understanding and support of other stakeholders and the public, as we strive to maintain peace and security in our nation.”


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Written by Charles Daisi

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