The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, led members of his cabinet to visit residents protesting against the continuous presence of armed policemen in the Magodo Phase 2 Estate area of the state.
The policemen recently accompanied suspected land grabbers and members of a family who planned to demolish property on the estate to execute a Supreme Court judgment.
During the invasion, the hoodlums used red, brown and blue inks to inscribe ‘ID/795/88 Possession Taken Today 21/12/21 by Court Order,’ on property on the estate.
The group was about to invade the estate with a bulldozer when the estate management ordered a closure of the gate.
It took the intervention of Sanwo-Olu before the gates were reopened, as the Inspector-General of Police, Baba Usman, reportedly promised to withdraw the policemen.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the estate gates were again shut around 6am on Tuesday to protest the continuous presence of the policemen.
Speaking with our correspondent at the protest ground, the Chairman of the estate, Bajo Osinubi, said the policemen had remained on the estate despite the governor’s intervention.
He said, “More than 50 armed policemen are still around and they are restless and didn’t go for Christmas and New Year. In the morning and evening, they carry their guns around and you can imagine what will happen if there is a disagreement between the group and residents and somebody was shot, what will be the reaction of the IGP?”
There was, however, a mild drama when Sanwo-Olu, who also visited the scene, asked the police team leader to leave the estate with his men.
He said, “It is a case between the supposed people and Lagos State Government; it has nothing to do with the residents.
“Please, can you call your superior in Abuja and tell them that the governor is here and as the chief security officer, you don’t have any business to be in my state right now and I want you to disengage.”
Responding, the police officer said, “I am here on the instruction of the Inspector-General of Police, through the AGF. I am too small or too low to call them.
“Your excellency, with due respect sir, you can call them. It is not my duty to call because I am too low to do that Sir.”
Addressing journalists and aggrieved residents, Sanwo-Olu, who appealed for calm, said a meeting had been scheduled for Wednesday with the judgment creditors, adding that representatives of the association and the police would also be involved.
He said, “When the first attempt happened about two weeks ago, I intervened and if you remember very well, the action was immediate and there were no incidents again and throughout the festive period, we had started communication.
“One of the things to first understand is that the residents, the people that have gone to court and the police are my subjects. I have the responsibility to ensure that fairness and equity is entrenched.
“The people that have come said they have Supreme Court judgment, rightly so. The residents living here have proper titles and means to live here; and of course the Nigeria Police.
“In the car, I spoke extensively with the IGP and with the Honourable Attorney-General and we have resolved all the issues. What we will see is that there will be a total stand down and tomorrow, around 11am, we will be inviting representatives of the judgment creditors.”
The governor said a committee had been set up to invite all parties concerned to his office, adding that the state government would resolve the matter.
He urged residents to go about their lawful business, assuring that nobody would be harassed or their property touched.
He said, “All of you have been wonderful, so, let us continue to maintain the peace that we have in Magodo and I can assure you that none of your houses will be marked again and the ones that have been marked, we will try and see how we will sort it out because war doesn’t take anybody anywhere; it is on the table that we will all resolve it.
“I want to appeal to all of you to stand down and go back to your houses as nothing will happen to anyone. I am here to ensure that Magodo continues to remain in peace and safe for our residents. Whatever property that has been locked would be opened as everything would be resolved.”