‘We have been pauperised…’
SOME landlords at Gariki Area of Ilorin, Kwara State, have accused men of the state Police Command of wrongfully pulling down their houses.
The landlords said they were shocked during the early hours of yesterday to see over 20 men of the Mobile Force Unit of the Command allegedly accompanying and giving protection to the driver of a bulldozer who was pulling down their buildings.
The action had attracted scores of sympathisers who thronged the area in bewilderment trying to unveil the cause of the development.
According to one of the landlords, Alhaji Afeez Boluwatito: “We had all our necessary documents concerning this portion of land where we had erected this building now in ruins. This development is callous and wicked. We are yet to be told the rationale for it.”
“But I can assure you of our readiness to fight it out with the Police in all legal ways possible. Their action has pauperised us and could send us to our early graves because many of us built our houses with our gratuities. So where do they want us to start from?”
When The Guardian got to the scene at about 4:30pm, there were rubbles on the land but difficult to ascertain the source.
Reacting to the development, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Ajayi Okasanmi, DSP, said he was not aware of the pulling down of any structure in the area, but explained that the policemen were in the area to clear their land illegally occupied by some people.
In continuation of his tour of the 36 states of the federation, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, was on Monday billed for the commissioning of the low-cost housing scheme of the Police in Ilorin.
But the event, according to Okasanmi, was postponed at the eleventh hour, “due to another pressing assignment of the Inspector General. But we are hoping that before the week runs out, he will give us another date.”
Sources told The Guardian that the land in question had been a subject of litigation in which judgment had also been given.
“The judgment had pointed out the demarcation line for the Police and the contesting parties. But I think some land vendors had encroached the police land, selling same to unsuspecting vendees,” added a source.
The police spokesman said: “We have our own land in the area which the Inspector General should have launched today (yesterday). Some people had encroached the land and I think what our men did was to push out the illegal occupiers so that we could commence our own development, but I am not sure if any damage was done to anybody’s building in the process.”
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