Friday, March 24, 2023

Landgrabbers invade Lagos school, chase away students, destroy property

The about 40 hoodlums were said to have chased the boarding pupils from their hostels and broke the school fence and destroyed the gate.

• January 30, 2023
Shalom Group of Schools
A composite of Shalom Group of Schools and the affected student used to illustrate the story

At least 40 hoodlums invaded a private school, Shalom Group of Schools in Baruwa, Ipaja area of Lagos State and displaced students and teachers.

The students and management of the school could not gain access to the premises as the main gate was blocked by land grabbers, popularly referred to as ”Omo-Onile”.

The proprietress of the school, Adedayo Odeka, told journalists on Monday that the hoodlums were allegedly led by an “Omo Onile” popularly known as Kaka.

“He claimed that they had won a court judgement to take possession of our land.

“I told him to show me the judgement, as I was not aware of any court case let alone judgment but he refused,” she explained.

According to Ms Odeka, the land was allocated to the school by the federal government in 1992.

The proprietress said the hoodlums came on Saturday and damaged the fence and railings to gain access into the compound, forcing boarding students to vacate.

She claimed that the case was reported at the Ipaja police station but that the police were incapacitated.

“When the case was reported, the police reluctantly followed us to the site after much pressure but could not act as the hoodlums continued with the erection of the structure,” she said.

The security guard, Micheal Yakubu, alleged that over 40 hoodlums, who were led by the Kaka group invaded the school around 6:00 a.m. on Saturday.

“They broke the wall, removed the two main gates to gain access, claiming that the land belonged to them.

“They brought in sand, blocks and started digging and erecting structures on the school field.

“After erecting the structure beyond nine coaches, they blocked the two entrances with blocks, put a small gate and locked it.” he said.

A parent, Osagie Igebo, said it was disheartening for a group of people to traumatise young children and send them out of boarding school.

A teacher, Ifeoma Abah, said the land grabbers chased the students out of the hostel.

“They chased the students out without considering whether their parents were close or far, some of them were half clad but the men didn’t care.

“We came this morning only to be denied access to the school,” she said.

A boarder in the school, Success Afolayan, a senior secondary two student, said she felt tortured and traumatised on Saturday when the hoodlums invaded their school.

Oluwatoyin Okafor, the principal, said the miscreants destroyed some of the school properties and sent them out.

“They destroyed the wall and iron rails and burgled the generator house.

“We were not given an audience, the security agents were standing by their side with guns threatening to shoot us if we talked.”

The registrar of the school, Akinola Adebayo, said he got an invitation letter from Zone 2, Onikan, that someone wrote a petition against him.

“When I got there on Thursday, they said that they had a petition against me, that I am using charms and cultists to chase Omo-onile away from their land.

“I told them that I don’t know the petitioner, after I answered the petition, the police asked the two parties (the Omo-onile) and (Shalom school) to come back today, Monday, January 30, but I was surprised that the Omo-onile invaded the school on Saturday.

“When we called the police, they said that there was  nothing they could do,” he said.

Some students were carrying cardboards with the inscriptions such as “Education is our right”, “say no to Omo-onile oppressors”, “the future is weeping”, “Kaka, why take our right from us”, “Omo-onile, why send us out of our school”, “Government come to our rescue, save us from land grabbers” and many more.

The police spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, who confirmed the story, said the case was not a criminal case.

“The case is not a police case, it is a civil case.

“I will urge the parties not to take laws into their own hands so that a civil case will not turn to a criminal case,” he said. 


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