The activities of land grabbers, popularly known as Omo Onile, took a dangerous turn in Atan-Ota, Ado-Odo Local Government Area of Ogun State after some of them attacked a team of policemen, disarmed them and escaped with their gun.
The incident took place last Tuesday at a building site in the area.
The land grabbers also reportedly went away with police handcuffs.
The policemen, numbering five, had, according to community sources, been deployed to the site after the owner lodged a complaint at Atan-Ota Divisional Police Station that they were obstructing construction work going on there.
A law against land grabbers is operative in Ogun and only recently the state Commissioner for Urban and Physical Planning, Olatunji Odunlami, restated the resolve of the administration to enforce it.
The law provides for 25 years jail tem or death sentence for anyone convicted for land grabbing.
Trouble, it was learnt, started when the policemen, on getting to the site, located in the Kajola neighbourhood, confronted the land grabbers and succeeded in handcuffing one of them.
The sources said the development infuriated the land grabbers who demanded that the handcuffs should be removed and the police team should vacate the area.
The police officers stood their ground on taking the land grabbers or at the worst the one handcuffed to their station.
Then the land grabbers attacked the cops, snatched the gun from one of them and fled.
The one handcuffed fled with them.
Sunday Vanguard understood that the cops went back to their station for reinforcement, returned to the Kajola neighbourhood and arrested some of the suspected land grabbers who, it was gathered, have been transferred to Ogun State Police Command Headquarters, Abeokuta for proper investigation and possible prosecution.
Residents said that despite the law banning land grabbing in Ogun, land grabbers in the Kajola neighbourhood operated with impunity, taking the land of locals and imposing levies of all sorts on those building houses.
They explained that the land grabbers acted with impunity in Atan-Ota because they have a godfather, described as a retired police officer and simply identified as Jossy, always using his cover to get them out of trouble.
But the residents, who identified one of the land grabbers as one Godwin Sunday (also called Omo jo Ibo), begged Governor Dapo Abiodun and IGP Mohammed Abubakar to use the opportunity of the Atan-Ota incident to rid the area and Ogun State of land grabbing.
Confirming the incident in a telephone chat with Sunday Vanguard, Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said that when the land grabbers began their operations, the matter was reported at the police station.
“When the police got to the scene of the incident, the land grabbers struggled with the police, but at the end of the day, the police were able to arrest three of them”, Oyeyemi said.
He gave the names of the three suspected land grabbers as Jamiu Okelola, Adebayo Abayomi and Afeez Onifade.
He alleged that the suspects were working for one Joseph Ayodele, a dismissed police officer.
The spokesman added that the state Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, has ordered that his men should go after Ayodele and get him arrested.