Land Dispute: Controversies trail killing of 32-yr-old mechanic in Badagry
Accusations and counter-accusations have continued to trail the circumstances surrounding the Friday killing of a 32-year-old mechanic, Ismaila Akapo, in a sleepy community of Aradagun near Badagry, Lagos State, during alleged police shooting.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the community was thrown into mourning as the mechanic, Akapo, was allegedly shot dead by a police bullet during a scuffle over a land dispute.
NAN also learnt that the crisis started when some indigenes of Ganho Quarters in Badagry allegedly stormed the community with some mobile policemen to forcefully begin construction work on a disputed piece of land in Aradagun.
It was gathered that they were, however, resisted by some aggrieved youths in the community.
NAN correspondent also gathered that in the ensued scuffle Akapo was shot dead at the scene by one of the mobile policemen.
Following the death of the mechanic, the aggrieved youths in the community went on a rampage, blocking the roads in protest against the killing of one of them.
Meanwhile, the remains of the deceased had since been deposited at the Badagry General Hospital Mortuary.
Commenting, Chief Samuel Falola, the Are of Aradagun, told NAN that the age-long land dispute started in 1935 and we have since been on the issue before we were born.
“While the case is still pending in court, members of Ganho Family are parading themselves as owners of the land.
“They brought developer from nowhere to disturb landlords and landladies who bought the land many years ago to start all over again obtaining forms to buy the land.
“These developers have continued to disturb residents and shop owners to extort money from them.
“On this issue, we were invited at the Zone 2 Police Headquarters in Lagos for dialogue, but unknowingly, they arrested us, and we were charged to Igbosere Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and later granted bail.
“But, before we came, the Ganho Family and their developer had been going around claiming that they have arrested elders of Aradagun.
“So, yesterday (Thursday), they dropped a load of sand on the disputed land at Bayo Street in Aradagun to come and start work.
“They came with four mobile policemen this morning (Friday), and when they were challenged by youths of the area, one of the trigger-happy mobile policemen shot one of our sons in the stomach and they ran away,” he said.
Also, Mr Adewale Fatola, a youth in Aradagun, said, “youths are not happy with the role played by police in this matter, because there is already misunderstanding between the two families.”
Fatola accused police of being biased in the handling of the matter.
Also, a retired soldier and landlord in Aradagun, Mr Sunday Ajayi, appealed to the Lagos State Government to find a lasting solution to the dispute between the two families.
Ajayi said that the land dispute was disturbing the peaceful co-existence of the town.
Reacting, Dr Samuel Hundogan, the Agoloto of Badagry Kingdom and Head of Ganho Family, said that their father was the rightful owner of land in Aradagun Town.
“The people of Aradagun Town were traders from Ogbomoso, who used to come and buy goods in Cotonou in the 1900s.
“Our fathers gave them land in Aradagun to build houses and farm. They used to pay tribute on a yearly basis. But, in early 1925, they stopped bringing tribute.
“We took them to court and won back all our land in their possession in 1935, according to the Supreme Court ruling.
“Apart from the Supreme Court ruling, we have won them in four different cases in Lagos State High Court.
“You’re on somebody’s land and you’re still fighting the person.
“We resolved not to cause mayhem in Aradagun and we requested for a comprehensive list of those Aradagun people sold land to for regularisation and to formalise their land documents through our developer, Adeoye and Associates.
“Aradagun people resisted and even told the people that they sold land to them and should not submit themselves to Ganho Family.
“They took four of us from Ganho Family to the Lagos State Police Command on Monday, but the case turned against them, and the police charged them to Igbosere Customary Court for breach of public peace.
“They were, however, released on bail, and we are still going back on August 12 for hearing,” he said.
On the killing, he said no member of Ganho Family was at the scene of the killing, contrary to what the people of Aradagun were claiming.
According to Huntogan, I was sitting here in my house, when I heard that youths in Aradagun were attacking mobile policemen at Bayo Bus Stop as some people wanted to begin work on a piece of land.
“One of my men, Mr John Ajose, was beaten to stupor by the youth. I learnt also that they attacked one of the policemen with charms while trying to snatch his gun from him.
“I was also told that one of the policemen fired shot in self-defence while being battered by the youth, and he had reported the case at Badagry Police Station,” he told NAN.
When contacted, the Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP. Bala Elkana, confirmed the incident, saying that two mobile policemen from Zone 2 were linked with the incident.
Elkana said that their claim was that it was the people that first attacked them.
However, the Zone Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), DSP. Hauwa Idris, said she has yet to be briefed about the incident.
Idris promised to get back to our correspondent as soon as she gets the details of the incident.