It was gathered that residents of Abule-Foli village in Igando-Orudu area of Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos got what they did not bargain for, recently, when a combined team of uniformed and plain-clothed policemen stormed their village and arrested 22 of them. Among those arrested was Alhaja Baseratu Balogun, an 80-year-old grandmother.
Incidentally, both the octogenarian and other suspects were thrown into a waiting truck after the heavily armed policemen who arrived around 10pm combed the area. However, in spite of pleas by lawyers and other well-meaning Nigerians for the suspects to be granted bail, the investigating police officers flatly objected.
The story took a more frightening dimension five days later when the suspects were taken from Police custody to a Lagos magistrate court where they were arraigned on a seven-count criminal charge of stealing N7,000 (Seven Thousand Naira from one Wahidi Agbaje.
The bewildered octogenarian pleaded not guilty and was remanded in prison custody along with other suspects pending when the conditions surrounding her bail will be perfected.
Alhaja Balogun who spoke with Crime Guard before the court session lamented that serious injustice had been meted out on her and her family members. She accused a top officer at the department of being biased against her and members of her family.
She alleged that during the raid, the police bulldozed a number of buildings on certain disputed area and that acted as a shield for opponents to finally take over their village. She further alleged that they stationed armed thugs and cultists there.
According to the distraught grandmother, “It is ridiculous at my age to be so framed. What am I doing with money that I will conspire with 22 people to steal N7,000? The fact of the matter is that I was born here and grew up in the village. Fifteen years ago, certain strangers showed up in the village, laying claim to our land.
This top officer was then attached to Area ‘A’ police command, Lion building. He was then a Deputy Superintendent of Police. He did exactly the same thing done recently by leading a police team that completely sacked us from the village. “This was clearly in flagrant abuse of the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP that policemen should not get involved in land matters.
The officer has now turned himself into a land grabber while still in service by using his position to intimidate, harass and unjustly arrest and detain people. Nothing exposed him better than the allegation that we forcefully entered a piece of land in Igando-Orudu, property of Agbaje and Elesho Family of Ibeju Lekki.”