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Osun Community Under Tension Over Land Tussle

Tension has descended on the peaceful town of Edemosi in Osun State‘s Ila Local Government Area, where the king and some of his chiefs are at odds over a land dispute involving a local family.

Chief David Awojide, the Obanla of Edemosi, said he was suspended for refusing to hand over land held in trust for the king, Oba Samuel Olaniyan.

He added that Oba Olaniyan was alleging that the revenues from the farm on the said area were being used to develop the town.

Awojide said: “My suspension was because I refused to let go of my family land to the monarch and I also didn’t seed a farm kept in my family’s care by another family pending the time the children will need it.

“For years, the proceeds from the palm plantation have always been taken to the palace and the monarch claimed he was developing the community with the money. However, the entire development project in the community, that I know, is either sponsored by the government, elected political officials or community sponsored.

“But when he insisted I hand over the land I held in trust, I told him it is not possible because my father held it in trust for the family and instructed that when the children come, I must hand it over to them. Coincidentally, the children surfaced and I took them to the land, explained the situation and handed over the land and everything on it to them.

“After doing that, I received a letter from Oba Olaniyan, stating that I have been suspended and stopped my N7,000 monthly salary.”

Land
AIHS 2022

I was axed because I stopped seizing land for him — Chief Olaniyi
But another traditional chief, the Akogun of Edemosi, Awowale Olaniyi alleged that his meagre N3,000 monthly salary was stopped because he stopped helping the monarch to grab land.

Olaniyi said: “After I was installed as the Akogun of Edemosi in 2019, most of the deals I carried out for Oba Olaniyan are land seizures. But I suddenly realised that I can’t continue and I stopped. That was when I started having trouble. I was accused of holding back land proceeds, a committee was set up, it recommended that I should be suspended but I received a letter that I have been relieved of my title.”

The aggrieved chiefs, however, urged the state government and security agencies to intervene in the situation before it degenerates into a crisis.

Meanwhile, youths and women in the town had written to Governor Gboyega Oyetola and Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode to call the monarch to order before the town is engulfed in crisis.

They insisted that the monarch cannot rule over the peaceful community from another town, hence, risking his throne.

Landowners react
Meanwhile, the owners of the disputed land between Obanla and the monarch, the Olamijulo family, speaking through its representative, Dr Ademola Ekundayo, said it has retrieved its land and farm from Obanla that held it in trust for the family.

Ekundayo said: “We have discovered that Obanla can no longer watch over our land, hence, we have decided to withdraw it from him. If the Kabiyesi wants to develop the community with other people’s property, he should talk to us rather than punishing Obanla for refusing to cede the land to him.”

Allegations are false – Monarch
When contacted, the monarch said the allegations made against him are false, saying that Obanla and Akogun were suspended for committing punishable offences.

He said: “Obanla was suspended indefinitely for allegedly converting the farmland of Edemosi dead tenants to himself; misappropriation of Edemosi funds; a collection of Edemosi royalty funds and failure to give account; and gross insubordination to HRM’s authority.

“With regards to Akogun, he was suspended for insulting the stool of Edigbon; using his office to defraud people; violation of oath of office of chieftaincy; threat to life and properties; and insult on the personality of Edigbon of Edemosi.”

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