The hoodlums, who came to destroy a newly constructed gate of Journalists’ Estate, Phase One, Arepo, Ogun State, caused panic as residents were forced to flee the area while the men were operating.
According to a resident of the estate, the invaders were sent by Oba of Arepo, Oyebi Atanda.
A guard at the estate gate (name withheld) said, “About seven hoodlums came to the estate around 12pm and started tearing it down. They were violent and threatened to deal with us. They told me and other guards on duty that they were sent by Oba Atanda. I advised other guards not to fight them, while I called the Community Development Association Chairman, Mr. Gbayode Somuyiwa, on the telephone to alert him.”
“The guard said some policemen later came from Ibafo Division and arrested the hoodlums “after they had done some damage to the gate.”
Mr. Somuyiwa told our correspondent that residents of the estate decided to construct gates at the entrance and exit of the estate because of insecurity.
He said, “Pipeline vandals often pass through our estate into the next estate, Beachland Estate, to vandalise pipelines and steal petroleum products.
“Houses in the estate are often burgled because it is porous. The thieves use the exit at the back of the estate to spirit stolen properties out of Journalists’ Estate.
“However, residents of Beachland Estate protested the construction. We offered to give the keys of the gates to them; they refused, saying they wanted an unhindered access to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“We went to court over this matter, but the court is yet to give judgment. But we have signed a MoU with the Oba of Arepo to build a gate. I don’t know why Chief Atanda is against the construction of a gate now.”
Chief Fatai Asaolu, who led the invaders, said, “This morning, residents of Beachland Estate came to the Oba’s palace to complain about the gate built at the entrance of Journalists’ Estate. And since the road that passes through Journalist Estate leads into Beachland Estate, the residents are deprived of thoroughfare. So the Oba sent us to demolish the gate.”
The monarch, Atanda, said he sent the men to demolish the gate because it blocked the access to Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“The court is yet to give judgement on whether a gate could be built or not. At least, Journalists’ Estate people should have asked me before going ahead to mount a gate,” he added.
The spokesman for Ogun State Police Command, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the incident: “About seven people were arrested. Habitants of Beachland felt the gate would cause hardship, and they destroyed one of its pillars.”
He said, “However, we think it is an issue they could solve amicably. The DPO of Ibafo Police Division will invite both parties and mediate in the dispute between the two estates.”