General allegedly shuns hearing on land grabbing

Commanding Officer, 174 Battalion Nigeria Army, Odogunyan Ikorodu, Lt.- Colonel Seyi Sholotan, has allegedly shunned an invitation extended to him by Lagos State Taskforce on Land Grabbing over ownership of a plot in Yaba, Lagos.

The ownership of the land located on 2-3 Bashorun Street, off Haastrup Street, Alagomeji area of Yaba, Lagos was in dispute be- tween him and an engineer, Adewole Adeleye. Adeleye had petitioned the Taskforce following an alleged invasion of the land by Sholotan with soldiers on more than three occasions.

The Taskforce, in a letter by its coordinator, Owolabi Arole, had first invited Sholotan to a hearing at the meeting room of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Annex on March 23, 2022, but the military officer was not present.

The hearing was adjourned till April 13 to enable the military officer to attend, but on April 13, Sholotan was also absent. Adeleye urged the Army hierarchy, especially the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, to intervene in resolving the matter. Arole said another chance would be given to Sholotan to appear and adjourned until May 11, 2022, The Trumpet gathered.

Sholotan said he bought the land from one Ahmed Olorunimbe, but none of them attended the mediation or provided documents for the land. Adeleye, who said he was the valid owner of the land with a registered title, had in March 2021 also reported Olorunimbe to the Force CID Alagbon for alleged encroachment.

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Olorunimbe was invited for questioning by the police and was later released on bail. Insisting that he owned the land, Sholotan said he bought it from Olorunimbe in 2017, before he was deployed to the Northeast on a military operation. He said when he returned to Lagos, he visited the land, and Olorunimbe told him someone else (Adeleye) was claiming it. He said the case had been investigated by the military police and that he was found to have validly bought the land.

Sholotan admitted that he went to the land to remove the gate himself and to fix his own. He said he did not assault anybody with any soldier in the process. “The land is mine. I paid for it. I have the right to own property,” the military officer said. On why he shunned the invitation for a second time, he said he was in Port Harcourt and couldn’t have attended from there, adding that he was not even called to notify him of the hearing, adding that he is not under obligation to attend. “I’m not even obliged to attend that meeting.

This matter has been in 2017. I bought the land from Olorunimbe. I have asked him if he was invited and he said no and they are inviting only me. I cannot go there.

“This same person has reported me to my head- quarters at 81 Division, Kofo Abayomi, Victoria Island. The case was investigated. He went there with so many false documents and he was advised to approach the court. “So, he should go to court. I will appear in court to defend myself. The Task force on land grabbing cannot solve this issue. He should sue me, if he is sure that the land belongs to him,” he added.

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