THE Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the Christian Association of Nigeria, Oyo Zone are claiming ownership of a large expanse of land measuring 96 plots.
While the religious body insists that it got the land from the former Oyo Local Government Council before it was divided into four in the 90s, the monarch is wondering why anybody should be struggling with him over his property.
The disputed land is at Ayetoro Scheme in Oyo town.
Speaking on behalf of CAN in Oyo town, the Director of State Issues and Social Welfare, Bishop Daniel Oluwajimade, said, “The matter is very simple and very strong. Almost about 16 years ago, the Christian Association of Nigeria bought 16 acres of land from the local government council in Oyo. They have been paying the yearly tenement rate to the local government council. They discovered that there was encroachment on the land and they began to pursue the matter.
“Eventually, they discovered that it was the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi that encroached on the land. Today, the Police in Oyo town invited the CAN coordinator in Atiba to Atiba Police Station. Eventually, the case is being transferred to Iyaganku in Ibadan.
“The land is not owned by the CAN in Atiba Local Government council Area but the entire CAN in Oyo town. We in the state executive were in a meeting when we heard, so we all came. We work in team and when there is an issue that relates to CAN, regardless of anywhere in the 33 local government councils of the state, we are all concerned.
“Our demand is that Oba Adeyemi should stop claiming ownership of the land. It is not his land. The land belongs to CAN. The zone paid for it. Nobody, no matter the level, has the legal right to claim that the land belongs to him. The only entity that can withdraw the right is the local government but there is no basis for that since CAN has not defaulted till date.”
But, Alaafin dismissed the claims of CAN saying, “It is not in the practice or tradition of Oyo Palace from time immemorial to engage in public controversy with any sector of Oyo Community, especially on religious matters.”
“For the record, the land hitherto named as Ayetoro Scheme is erroneously referred to as the entire area is known as ‘Gbofin’ which incidentally is one of the ancestral stool land of the Alaafin with approximately 1,118 plots as against the 96 plots claimed to have been owned by CAN; and Alaafin has been exercising ownership and in so doing, some parts of the land were allocated to members of the royal family without any consideration and have been inhabitated by them or their allottees for a reasonably long period of time with over 2,000 buildings without disturbance from any quarters including Atiba Local Government.
“It is also on records that it was through the instrumentality of the Alaafin that such reputable and highly revered religious bodies like Baptist, Anglican, Methodist, Catholic and of late, Pentecostal churches were provided with auspicious land settlements in Oyo. This magnanimity goes to the extent of the Alaafin providing space for Sunday Church service in His palace.
“However, it is surprising that not done with this misleading and malicious publication, some people, defying protocol put in place by the government to check the spread the COVID-19 pandemic took to major streets of Oyo, protesting over same matter.
“To allege that the Alaafin of Oyo is not only trespassing or attempting to grab the said land is not only absurd but alien. Can the owner of the land be a trespasser or grabber of his own property? It looks not only absurd but paradoxical for a group who supposedly parade themselves as godly people to be involved in fraudulent claims over land that was not only illegally transferred to them by Atiba Local Government as claimed but also fraught with inconsistencies as against the Alaafin who had surveyed and registered the same land since 1996”, Alaafin said.