businessman accuses policemen of helping thieves take over his property
A Ghana-based Nigerian businessman has accused policemen attached to the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) Ikoyi of aiding suspected land grabbers to take over his property.
Jayson Kimipado in a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IG) Adamu Mohammed alleged that a Deputy Superintendent (DSP) and an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) both of the SFU had connived with a certain Prince and another Obele to illegally demolish his structure and trespassed his land located at Lake View Estate, Amuwo-Odofin.
Addressing reporters in Lagos on behalf of Kimipado, an agent Edward Ojefia who said he was the one who assisted the petitioner in purchasing the land disclosed that it was bought in 2016 and registered at the land registry with a certified true copy of Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) and a survey plan obtained.
Ojefia said he was the go-between Kimipado and the seller because the former was in Ghana, adding that payments were made through transfers to the seller, a lawyer.
“Transfers were made over the agreed purchase amount to the seller. The seller took only part payment of the agreed price on hearing from the man he earlier bought the land from that some persons were trespassing into the land.
“It was agreed between all the parties that part payment should be made pending the resolution of the action the owner of the land intended taking against the trespassers. Subsequently, the seller initiated action at the High court of Lagos State and during the pendency of the action; the trespassers were duly served all the notices by the order of court.”
Continuing, he said judgement was delivered in favour of the seller on June 15, 2015 and that led to the completion of transaction between the seller and himself.
Having paid the full amount agreed, Kimipado said he fenced the land and commenced erecting structures.
Trouble however started for Kimipado in 2017 when the alleged grabbers threatened to pull down part of his fence on grounds that it encroached on their land. He said his tormentors had boasted they have police influence and went ahead to show same by illegally demolishing, taking possession of and mounting armed policemen permanently on his land.
Aside that, Ojefia said he was detained for three days at the SFU alongside Bolaji Salami because they assisted Kimipado to buy the land.
“Although we were released on bail, six months later, we were re-arrested in a gestapo-like manner by the same officers from SFU without prior invitation.
“The officers that arrested us- SP Austin Osobase and ASP Mohammed Abdulkareem- claimed that the response they got from enquiries at the land use allocation committee showed that Kimipado’s land was some meters away from where it is on his survey plan.
“However, it was later discovered that the survey plan was deceitfully annexed to the present owner’s Certificate of Occupancy as the documents of the trespassers and was sent by the police officers to the Land Use Allocation Committee.
“The police officers also brought officials from the Surveyor-General’s office that entered the land without permission for the purpose of taking coordinates of the land to determine the owner. Later, the committee stated in their report that the CofO belonging to Kimipado is authentic and valid.
“But the officers did not relent; they continued superintending over dispute arising from proprietary and ownership claim over the land. This made representative of Kimipado to approach the Federal High Court to enforce their fundamental rights after threats.
“On December 20, last year, the trespassers came with a bulldozer in company of policemen who started shooting into the air to scare away any opposition and demolished part of Kimipado’s property. After that, they stationed some armed Mobile Policemen at the site to ward off entrance by the owner.
“The matter was promptly reported at Area E and the Mobile Policemen were arrested. However, the two officers from SFU later came to the station and requested their release purportedly on the orders of the Commissioner of Police at SFU.
“Two weeks after, the trespassers came again to demolish another part of the property under the full cover of policemen led by the two officers from SFU prompting a petition to the IG who ordered their immediate arrest by the X-Squad at Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) Alagbon.
“Surprisingly, after the arrest of the officers, they were released unconditionally and the trespassers have gone back to the land with armed soldiers and policemen on guard,” he said.
However, the police denied the allegation insisting it had no hand in the demolition.
Spokesman for the SFU Lawal Audu, a DSP said: “It is a lie. Our officers did not supervise the demolition of any house or structure. SFU was involved after the former IGP directed us to take over the case from X-Squad, FCIID, Alagbon. After we took over, our officers investigated the case and found out that the land does not belong to the claimant.
“The claimant swindled the land vendor because the vendor has no land in that place. He sold another person’s land to him. The officers in question are senior officers. How can they supervise the destruction of a site?
“SFU does not have the manpower to go to site and destroy properties. They should channel their grievances to another place. The petitioner is even a shortee not a claimant who is in Ghana. He wrote the petition when we invited him and he could not provide the man that claims to have bought the land. We are not involved and will never be involved in such a case.”