Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday waded into the two-week siege to Magodo Phase 2 Estate by the police, calling on all the parties involved to “stand down” until the matter is completely resolved.
It was gathered that before Sanwo-Olu arrived in the estate, over 100 armed policemen, who were acting on the instruction of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, had laid a siege to the estate following the planned demolition of property in the estate.
The police invaded the community with members of a family said to be executing a purported Supreme Court judgment on the ownership of the land on which the properties were built.
When Governor Sanwo-Olu and members of the state executive council visited the estate, they were addressed by one CSP, Bimbola Oyewole, who said that his team had been sent from Abuja to execute the Supreme Court judgment on Magodo Phase 2 properties.
When the police team leader couldn’t provide the copy of the said judgment as demanded by the governor, Sanwo-Olu ordered the policemen to deactivate their operation and leave Lagos in the interest of peace, but the officer refused, saying that he was acting on the orders of the AGF and IGP.
Sanwo-Olu then told him to call his superiors, saying that the matter was between the Lagos State government and the judgment creditor.
He said, “It is a case between the residents of Lagos and the supposed people, not the residents. They have nothing to do with the residents. Please, can you call your superior now in Abuja that the state governor is here standing in front of you and I am the Chief Security Officer and that I want you to leave now and that you have no business in my state and that I want you to disengage now?
But the officer, in defiance, insisted that his rank was too low to call his superior officers and would not leave with his team, since he was acting on the instruction of the AGF through the IGP.
After several minutes of phone calls placed to the authorities in Abuja, on whose authority the armed policemen were said to have been acting, Governor Sanwo-Olu briefed the residents and appealed to all the concerned parties to stand down until the matter is completely resolved.
He invited all the stakeholders to a meeting in his office at 11 am this morning, saying that the issues called for proper deliberation in the interest of peace.
The governor said, “I have spoken extensively with the inspector general of police, the Hon. Attorney General, and we’ve resolved all of the issues. So what we would see is that there’s going to be a total stand down. Tomorrow (today), we’ll be inviting the representatives of the judgment creditors.
“We have actually started a committee meeting, but I want to invite them again officially to my office tomorrow by 11 am to come over with two, three of their representatives. The state government will be there, the residents’ association will be there, and the police will also be there, so whatever it is that must have brought about all these troubles and heartaches will need to be brought there.
“We will all go through every line of it and we’ll come to an amicable resolution. So, I want everyone to please ensure that peace will be restored to the estate. I want all of our citizens to go about their lawful businesses knowing fully well that nobody will be harassed or any property will be trampled upon pending all of these conversations.
“We will have an extended conversation tomorrow so that we can bring this to a final closure. So I want to ask the residents, the executives, don’t take the laws into your hands. Just go back home peacefully. The policemen have been recalled. They’d be here and nothing would happen whatsoever, and tomorrow, even the judgment creditors, they would also come to meet with us. They claimed that the people that we met here were not their full representatives.
Speaking with journalists, the residents said that over 20 people were arrested in what they described as an unlawful invasion of their properties, saying most of the property owners were locked up in the name of the enforcement of the Supreme Court verdict.
Mrs Sabina Adeniye said her son was arrested and locked up in the police station until the governor and the Lagos CP came to their rescue.
Another resident, Mr Mojeed Jamiu, described the invasion by the police as illegal, saying that was how the #EndSARS protest escalated, wondering how the police would take the law in their hands through unlawful invasion of private residences.