Following the persistent violence among the residents of the Otodo Gbame slum community in Ikate, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, the Elegushi Royal Family has resolved to execute the court ruling ordering it to take possession of the land in dispute and make proper use of it.
In a statement issued by the royal family and signed by its Secretary, Chief Muritala Elegushi, the decision was as a result of the abuse of rights of lease earlier granted the residents of the community, saying the slum now constitutes both security and health threats to the neighbouring settlements and the entire Lagos State.
According to the chief, the recent violence that broke out in the slum community which led to loss of lives and property, was a product of an internal wrangling among the residents, and that it has nothing to do with neither the family nor the government.
While condemning the development, the chief said family had granted the occupiers the opportunity to inhabit the place due to their fishing business, but that the opportunity has been abused 'as they now lay claim to the land and pledge their loyalty to Badagry without any historical facts to back their claims."
The statement reads in part; "The Elegushi royal family is unarguably the legal owner of the land which some of the current occupiers can testify to. The family obtained court rulings to take possession of the land from both magistrate and Lagos State high court in October and November, 2016 respectively.
"But in our magnanimous nature and in spite of the health and security threats the community poses to the neighbourhood, we have ensured that the occupiers are tolerated and managed towards ensuring enduring peace. But as community prone to violence, the recent conflict was purely an internal affair amongst the inhabitants of the densely populated slum community and has nothing to do with our family.
"We are, however, compelled by the new order to take possession of the land in dispute and make it habitable to human lives in line with the dream and aspiration of the Government of Lagos State."
The statement added that the Elegushi royal family had been fined earlier for not taking possession of the land after the court had ruled in its favour and that the family has the Certificate of Ownership to support its claim. He called on various human rights group and international organisations to desist from supporting lawlessness, abuse of privileges and false claims by those he described as interlopers.
"The inhabitants had filed a suite at the federal high court and the case was thrown out. The family is a law abiding citizen and would not engage in activities that are contrary to the laws of the land, which was why we went to court to address the issues in the first place. We followed due process and will only take possession after the internal fight that was strictly amongst the inhabitants. We did this to ensure that the shanty structures do not spring up again
"We are making this public statement to clarify the false allegation against the Elegushi Royal Family and to categorically state that we have documented evidence to prove that we are the rightful and legal owners of the land. This is also to reiterate the fact that the Elegushis had nothing to do with the unfortunate violence that broke out in the community."