Human Rights Action Watch Condemns Murder and Illegal Demolition in Oke-Ogun Baale-Elerangbe Ancient Village

In a startling revelation, reports that Human Rights Action Watch issued a press release on Saturday, January 13th, 2023, condemning the murder of Mr. Abiodun Raji on May 25, 2023, and the subsequent illegal mass demolition of houses, ancient artefacts, mosques, churches, “Oju ‘bo,” and graveyards within Baale Oke Ogun Elerangbe Ancient Village.

The Executive Project Director, Comrade Tunji Balogun, highlighted the gross actions purportedly orchestrated by the Lagos State Government New Town Development Authority (NTDA), in connivance with land grabbers led by Chief Tunde Ogungbo, Alhaji Taiwo Bashiru, Mr. James DPKay, and Engr. Abdullahi Sesan Olowa.

The Social Justice and Human Rights groups, committed to protecting fundamental rights and the rule of law, expressed deep displeasure and disappointment over the wanton criminalities, including criminal conspiracy, subversion of justice, trespass to properties, forceful invasion, fraudulent misrepresentation, false information, harassment, intimidation, and land grabbing.

The groups urgently appealed to rescue Mrs. Macaulay Adenike and Chief Shakiru Adebola Elemoro, among other injured members, against a looming 7-day demolition notice dated January 11, 2024, issued by the NTDA General Manager. The appeal was directed towards Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor of Lagos State, and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, the groups called for immediate intervention, citing the murder of Mr. Abiodun Raji and other criminal activities. They urged thorough investigations and a halt to any impending demolitions in Baale Okeegun Elerangbe Communities. The groups further demanded unbiased investigations into the murder case and past demolitions.

The press release shed light on the intense fear and tensions in Okeegun Balee Elerangbe Communities due to notorious land grabbers operating a syndicated criminal web in collusion with ranking police officers. Despite previous interventions by human rights organizations, the matter remains unresolved, prompting an urgent appeal for government intervention.

The groups stressed the importance of salvaging the ancient communities, which have existed for over 1000 years, and called for compassionate village excision and gazetting by the Lagos State Government. They emphasized the need for a proper and unbiased investigation into the murder case, as well as the exhumation of the deceased’s remains for due diligence.

The press release concluded with a firm demand that all persons found culpable face the full wrath of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The groups also called for a comprehensive investigation into criminal trespass, forgeries of land title documents, harassment, fraudulent misrepresentation, and threats against innocent citizens within Okeegun Baale Elerangbe communities.

The victims, described as respected citizens and community leaders, faced a sudden and forceful invasion by Lagos State Ministry of Lands and NTDA officials on May 8, 2023. The demolition marked the beginning of a series of atrocities, including theft of properties, destruction of businesses, and threats to lives. The affected residents, including children, have been living in fear and uncertainty, calling for urgent government intervention to safeguard their rights and ancestral lands.

More photos from the press conference and protest held on Saturday, January 13th, 2023, in the affected areas of the community:

Kaka Babatunde

Kaka Babatunde

Kaka Babatunde is a budding academic researcher and media enthusiast whose experience germinated in high school, attaining the Press Club presidency. As an iconic field reporter for 3 years, he is a writer, serial volunteer, and community cum youth development champion whose collaborative efforts have immensely contributed to nation-building in Epe LGA, Lagos, and Nigeria at large.

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