Residents of the NITEL/Mtel Estate in Ikorodu, have accused the Lagos State Police Command of abandoning them by failing to provide protection for them from land grabbers, popularly known as omoniles, as ordered by the court.
According to the residents, an Ikorodu High Court had ordered the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State to station on a permanent basis, a contingent of armed policemen in the estate to ensure that no construction activities goes on there as well as prevent intruders on the property.
They added that the court, presided over by Justice Lawal Akapo, had also ordered the Area Commander, Area N, Ijede Command, being the nearest area command, to station armed policemen in the estate on a permanent basis to ensure law and order, and prevent further activities on the property pending the determination of case.
“The court ordered the police to provide protection for residents but nothing has been done; it has been business as usual for the omoniles,” a resident told our correspondent.
The PUNCH had about two months ago reported that residents of the NITEL/Mtel Estate had cried out for help following an alleged threat to their lives and properties by land grabbers.
The residents had alleged that in the last two years, armed land grabbers had taken over the estate, selling plots of land yet to be developed by some of the allottees and generally making the area unsafe for them, while all efforts to get help from law enforcement agents had proved abortive.
They said plots of land were allocated to them around 2007, when NITEL went into liquidation, and Natcom Development and Investment Limited acquired the core telecommunications assets previously owned by NITEL/Mtel.
They added that several people got allocations, but in 2015, a family came forward and instituted a legal action challenging the validity of sale to the allotees by the NITEL liquidator.
The residents said following the suit, there had been breakdown of law and order, which had led to armed robbery attacks in the estate, which houses over 100 families.
“There is still no security here; the omoniles have brought in armed people known as ‘ajagungbales’ to terrorise us and we live in fear. Up till now, construction is still going on, even on manholes and cable lines, and nobody is talking. It is as if the police have abandoned us to our fate,” a resident said.
The residents had earlier alleged that they sent a petition to the Area Commander in Ijede but nothing was done.
“We also wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police and he sent the petition to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Panti, but nothing has been done. Now, the court has even ordered them to provide protection and nothing is being done,” another resident lamented.
The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Police Command, Chike Oti, a Superintendent of Police, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said he was not aware of any court injunction asking the police to guard the estate.
“No order has been served on us to that effect. I am not aware of any order like that. If it exists, let them take it to the legal department for interpretation and action will be taken on it,” he said.