Textile giant Nichemtex has petitioned the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu over alleged police aiding of some people encroaching into their land at Ibese-Ikorodu, a Lagos district.
The petition dated March 27 and signed by Mahmud Adeshina for the company’s lawyer, alleged that the police were harassing Nichemtex workers as well as supervising the illegal trespass on its 282 acres of land it acquired 49 years ago with Deed of Indenture.
According to the petition, the company had been in physical possession of the properties but from two families since acquisition with a warehouse and block of flats erected in one of the acres, TheNation reports.
Trouble however started in 2003, when the Efunba family of Ikorodu instituted suit ID/285/2003 against Nichemtex before a Lagos High Court while the Ajako, Shosanya and Fadeyi Families of lkorodu also filed suit IKD/78/2014 in 2014.
Both suits, the lawyer explained, was consolidated in 2017 and was currently before an Ikeja High Court.
Disregarding the pending suit, the textile firm alleged that the Ajako, Shosanya and Fadeyi families filed a petition of forgery against them at the police zonal headquarters in Onikan.
“We and our client responded to the said petition and furnished the police with our client’s documents of title to enable them conduct an investigation into the matter so as to determine the veracity of the said title documents.
“Despite the fact that the said petition of forgery is pending before Zone Two, Onikan the said families have employed some other members of the police force to facilitate their acts of criminal trespass and encroachment on our client’s property and to engage in a conduct that is likely to cause a breach of the public peace,” said the petition.
Findings by our Correspondent revealed that policemen attached to the Special Protection Unit (SPU) have been raiding the property located, arresting and intimidating employees.
It was gathered that the families had sent a letter to the IG requesting SPU operatives to guard the properties, which was approved without recourse to the pending law suit.
Emboldened by the backing of the policemen availed them by the IG, the families, the company said, came to the land on January 11 to harass workers but were prevented by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Ipakodo.
“Again, on Wednesday, January 16, a number of Mobile Police Officers (MOPOL) went with some members of the said families and their lawyer, purportedly under the order of the Inspector General of Police to our client’s property, erected another gate and locked same up with a chain and padlock.
“Thereafter, we wrote a petition dated January 23, on behalf of our client to the Area Commander of the ljede Division of the Nigeria Police Force, lkorodu informing him of the atrocious act of the said families which is being facilitated by policemen but the Area Commander politely declined to intervene in the matter because it was already before Zone Two, Force headquarters, Onikan, Lagos.
“On March 20, the members of the afore-mentioned families acting in consonance with Baales within the Ibeshe/Owode communities trespassed into the property of our client in which its warehouse is located. They were about 30 of them who were accompanied by some armed Mobile Policemen who all forcefully entered into the premises of our client.
“Our client’s security man that was on duty saw the Baales performing some rituals on the said property after which they informed him that they were going to take over the block of flats that are attached to our client’s warehouse
“On March 21, the same set of people were seen by our client’s security guard conveying a good number of building blocks and cement into the property of our client with the intention of altering the block of flats on the premises and erecting new structures,” the petition stated.
Noting that the actions of the trespassers were capable of causing breach of peace; the company said the continuous shutting of its premises, encroachment on its properties with building materials could provoke some hostilities between parties.
“It may even lead to the loss of lives as the said families are desperate and have resorted to using armed members of the Nigeria Police to facilitate their trespass. It is disheartening that the police is being used by the above families to perpetrate acts of criminal trespass, encroachment and conducts that are likely to cause breach of peace.
“We wrote letters dated January 17 and 18, 2019 to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone Two headquarters informing him about the actions of the unknown armed mobile policemen who have been facilitating the trespass of the members of the said families but no investigation was conducted nor any step taken to curb the trespass.
“On February 7, our client received a letter of invitation requesting for the presence of its Managing Director at Zone Two Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos. Other than that, no attempt has been made by the said police formation to stop the families’ use of the police in harassing and encroaching upon our client’s property.
“We implore you to use your good offices to investigate and intervene in this matter so as to put an end to the acts of criminal trespass, encroachment upon the property of our client and to also ensure that they do not use members of the Nigeria Police Force to perpetrate further atrocities on our client’s property,” it stated.
Contacted, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone Two Lawal Shehu said he would investigate the issues since the reporter had just brought same to his attention.
Efforts to get the Commander SPU Adeshina Lawal, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) to react on the allegations were unsuccessful at the time of filing this report.