By Samuel Bankole
It started just like any other day of the week on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 as many residents of Journalists’ Estate Phase 1, Arepo went about their normal daily endeavours.
Some early risers among the residents had departed to their places of work while some were still preparing to go out when the unexpected happened.
An emergency call from the security post alerting residents of the invasion of the estate by some hoodlums.
By the time the few residents around could gather at the main entrance to the estate, some of the hoodlums and people who claimed to have been sent from the palace of Oba Atanda Oyebi, the Olu of Arepo had started dismantling the newly installed arch, indicating the name of the estate.
But, fir the quick intervention of the residents and the security personnel, more damage could have been done.
A meeting was subsequently held between some of the officials of the estate’s residents association, led by vice chairman, Omololu Rosanwo, the Secretary, Toye Olori, the assistant secretary, Yinka Shokunbi and Banke Alayaki, who is the welfare officer.
Others at the gate to intervene included two former chairmen of the resident association, Oludare Mayowa and Gbayode Somuyiwa.
They were also supported by some notable residents who were miffed by the audacity of the hoodlums, who came without provocation to destroy the estate property and even ready to attack whosoever wanted to stop them.
However, the leader of the invading ‘army’, one Segun, who said he was the Chief Akinrogun of Arepo claimed that he was instructed by the monarch to pull down the arch because residents failed to obtain permission from the palace before it was installed.
He also said the leader of the Ebute, a neighbouring estate within Arepo, Emmanuel Akudinobi had come to the palace to ask for assistance to pull the arch down because it was obstructing the main road passing through the estate.
The officials of Journalists Estate Association told the leader of the invading team that the estate actually procured and obtained permission from the government before the installation of the arch, which was a replacement of the old one at the entrance.
The hoodlums retreated and went back to report back to their ‘master’.
However, no sooner the residents dispersed than the thugs led by some chiefs from the palace and the monarch himself, who later left the scene because of the presence of cameras recording the incident, came back with full force and with a truck to pull down the arch. How the law abiding residents were restrained from confronting them in order to avoid breach of peace and probable ensuing bloody clash but decided to invite the Police to restore law and order.
Before the Police could arrived, the thugs and miscreants had pulled down the arch and attempted to take it away but for the intervention of the police who instructed them not to do so.
Meanwhile, the residents association, also known as Journalists Estate Residents Development Association (JERDA) has petitioned the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun on the criminal invasion and willful destruction of the multimillion naira arch recently constructed by the association to replace the previous one which gave way for the ongoing road construction in the community.
In a letter dispatched to the governor on Wednesday, the estate association accused the Monarch of “criminal destruction to property and persistent threat to lives and property’” of residents without any provocation by Oba Oyebi and his cohorts.
The petition which was signed by Chairman of JERDA, Funke Fadugba and Secretary, Toye Olori, the residents notified the governor that the unlawful activities of Beachland Estate Residents Association (BERA) in connivance with Oba Atanda Oyebi, the Olu of Arepo, and his chiefs have become a persistent threat to lives and property of its members, residents with the aim of annihilating them from the community.
“There has been physical confrontation and verbal threats to lives of members of Journalists Estate Phase One, comprising notable members of the journalism profession and many others in various professional fields of repute.
“There has been an incessant attacks on our Estate by BERA members and the Olu of Arepo over the years and this has now turned to direct invasion and threat to lives, with regular invasion of our Estate by BERA members to directly compromise our security and officers,” the petition said.
The residents complained of the invasion of the estate and destruction of the newly constructed entry arc orchestrated by the Olu of Arepo, his chiefs, some BERA residents and armed thugs.
“On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, over 50 BERA residents, led by one Emmanuel Akudinobi, including some chiefs from the Palace of the Olu of Arepo, invaded our Estate and destroyed our entrance arc, located at the point of security access into our estate.
“After an initial discussion to prevent the destruction, it was jointly agreed to meet with the traditional ruler later in the day to discuss the issues and resolve the matter amicably. However, after a while, thugs, armed with cudgels, in company of some chiefs and the said Emmanuel Akudinobi, came back from the Palace of the Olu of Arepo, where they boasted to have received the order to destroy the arc installed by JERDA Phase 1 with millions of naira belonging to our members.”
The group lamented that the arc, which was destroyed barely 24 hours after its installation, has been the landmark point since the inauguration of the Estate in 2003 and delineates the allocated perimeter approved by the state government. However, the group claimed that the Olu of Arepo has claimed to be superior to the government.
“The reason given, among others, was that we did not pay “homage” to the Palace, before erecting the arc and that *No* other authority can override that of the Olu of Arepo,” the petition said.
The group has therefore called on the governor and the state government to save the situation, noting that “a situation, where the Olu of Arepo will be the arrow head of criminal destruction of property, with contumacious impunity, is a threat to peace and lives of citizens and must not be allowed to stand.”
It added that the police had been invited to view the destruction and commence immediate investigation so that lawful prosecution of the perpetrators of the acts can be initiated.
Arepo is a populated area located in Ogun state, a suburb of Lagos often referred to as New Lagos or as Magodo 3. The community houses many estates which include Beachland and Journalists Estates.