-Lawmakers to visit boundaries
The unresolved boundary crisis between Ikorodu Local Government and Ijede Local Council Development has been taken before the Lagos State House of Assembly for the intervention of the lawmakers that created the 36 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) from the old 20 Local Governments in 2003.
It was gathered that Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA , which also has boundary issues to resolve with the Ikorodu LG and Ijede LCDA , has also asked to be joined in the matter.
THE IMPACT gathered that attempts by the three Council Chairmen to resolve the matter have not been frutiful. Traditional and political leaders, we gathered, have also intervened in the issues but their efforts have also been unsuccessful.
The matter had also been brought before the Apex body of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ikorodu Division but the body had to suspend its mediation efforts because of the last general elections.
Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun, APC Chieftain in the division, confirmed to our reporter, when he was approached for his reaction on the matter , that the highest organ of the ruling party is already looking into the matter and respectfully declined further comment.
It would be recalled that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the creation of additional Local Government Areas in Ikorodu Division of Lagos , which led to the creation of 5 LCDAs – Ikorodu West, Ikorodu North, Igbogbo/Bayeku, Ijede and Imota LCDAs , were signed by the traditional rulers in Ikorodu, Igbogbo, Ijede and Imota.
Among political leaders that signed the document were Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, Councilors and the two representatives of Ikorodu Division at the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Other leaders like Chief Babatunde Benson, SAN, Mr Olatunji Odusanya, mni , were among others that appended their signatures on the document .
THE IMPACT gathered that the matter, which started sometime around December 2017, was almost degenerating into communal crisis.
It was also gathered that the matter was brought before the Assembly through a petition written by the Oyega Descendant Family of Igbogbo.
The contending areas between Ikorodu LG and Ijede are Gberigbe, Agura and Oke-Olokun and others.
Between Ijede and Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDAs, the areas in contention are Oju-Oparun along Igbogbo where palm wine are being sold, Linksbond School down to the dumpsite and Gbodu.
Areas in contention between Ikorodu LG and Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA are Igbe, Elepe and other areas.
While the claim by the Ikorodu LG Chairman, Hon. Wasiu Adesina, is based on tradition, electoral delineation and administrative point of view, his counterpart in Ijede LCDA, Hon. Salisu Fathiu , is arguing his case strictly from the administrative perspective and the instrument used in creating the 37 LCDAs from the 20 old LGs by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2003.
Hon. Sesan Daini, Chairman, Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA , is also relying on the instrument that created the LCDAs and holds the belief that the state Assembly would help in resolving the boundary crisis among the councils.
Lagos State Assembly’s Intervention
Upon receiving a petition from the Oyega Descendant family in Gbodo town in Ikorodu , which was signed by the family secretary, Rasaq Sharafa Jagun, the Assembly invited the affected councils on Monday, April 1, 2019, to appear before the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions & LASIEC.
The meeting was adjourned to June 11, 2019, but it was unable to hold due to the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.
The petition was titled, “Petition against Ikorodu Central Local Government officials over illegal operation in our community”.
The meeting was reconvened on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, under the Chairmanship of Hon. Tunde Buraimoh.
Hon. Adeshina led the Ikorodu LG team which included the Council Leader, Hon. Salman Ayobami, the Majority Leader, Ikorodu LG, Hon. Omotayo Awolesi, Head of Administration and the Legal Adviser of the council.
Also with them were Baale Gbodo and members of Gbodo Descendant family.
The Ijede LCDA’s team , which was also led by the Chairman, Hon. Fathiu, also had its Vice Chairman, Secretary to the Council and Head of its administration. The team was also accompanied by another section of the Gbodo Descendant family.
Comrade Daini led the Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA’s team which also had the Vice Chairman, Secretary to the Council, Head of Administration and Legal Adviser of the council.
According to our sources, few things were discussed at the meeting before the meeting was adjourned till Wednesday, 28, 2019.
The House Committee also compelled the Deputy Surveyor-General to come to the meeting on the adjourned date with necessary and useful report that could assist in proffering lasting solutions to the boundary issues.
In addition, the members of the committee also resolved to visit the affected boundaries .
Chairmen’s Positions on the Boundary Disputes
According to Hon. Fathiu, the issue, which has been going on for sometime now, came out to the open sometime around December 2017.
“Sometime around December 2017, the crisis started when some of our staff members went out on revenue drive and they were attacked by some hoodlums ,led by a member of the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) who called himself the Chief Security Officer of Ewu-Owa.
“They attacked our staff members with dangerous weapons and the matter was taken to the Ijede police station and those responsible were apprehended by the police” , he alleged.
He stated that the then Commissioner in-charge of the Local Government and Community Affairs in the state , invited the concerned council functionaries for discussion to prevent the crisis from degenerating.
“Later, the chairman of Ikorodu LG came and we all agreed that the Office of the Surveyor General should come and show us our respective boundaries. The DPO and I wrote letters to this effect and we were later invited by the Commissioner in-charge of Local Government and Communities Affairs. At the meeting we were told that the state government does not want any problem.
“Later, the Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA Chairman also wrote the state government , alleging that Ikorodu LG was intruding into her land and that the government should intervene.
Hon. Fathiu stated that the three Councils have been invited by the Surveyor-General on the matter, while adding that Ijede is only claiming what the administrative right has given to her by the instrument that created the 36 LCDAs from the old 20 LGs and not ownership or traditional rights over the affected areas which,according to him, traditionally belong to Ikorodu.
“The three of us (councils) were invited by the state government and before the invitation, the Surveyor General came to show us our boundaries but on that day, Hon. Adeshina and some chiefs that he mobilized were against the submissions of officials from the Office of the Surveyor-General that were made in 2018.
“My own position is that Ijede is not claiming ownership or traditional right over lands allocated to it by the boundary adjustment document that created the LCDAs out of Ikorodu LG but we are doing so based on the administrative power that placed them under Ijede jurisdiction. By the administrative position of Lagos State, Ijede LCDA owns Gberigbe and Agura. On that day, it was tough. That was in 2018”, he stated.
The Ijede Chairman further alleged that the Ikorodu Chairman’s insistence that those lands belong to Ikorodu LG prevented resolution of the matter.
“Later, we were invited again by the State Government and at the meeting, the Deputy Surveyor-General, Surveyor Adeshina , attended and brought a projector along with him to show us the boundaries.
“ Some councils in Ikeja, Ojodu, Alimosho and others have similar issue but it was resolved for them on the same day but ours was unable to be resolved because Hon. Adeshina prevented it from being resolved” , he alleged.
When told that the Ikorodu Chairman , in an interview , did not only claim traditional rights over those lands but also that his claims were recognized by the law, Hon. Fathiu stated that he is not claiming land ownership but the rights granted to his council by the law that created it.
“At the last meeting that we held, he claimed ownership of Gberigbe, Agura and Oke-Olokun and the rest but I insisted that my claim is not land ownership but the administrative demarcation as stipulated in the law that created the councils.
“May be that is the clause our people are yet to understand. Recently, they (Ikorodu) erected a street signpost and sent a Revenue officer but the people of Ewu-Owa rejected them. The people then wrote that one of the conditions before naming a street is that the family that owns that land must be consulted and that by what their surveyor told them, they belong to Ijede LCDA.
“The issue almost caused serious problem and on that basis we were invited by the Lagos State House of Assembly but we were supposed to meet for the second term but the June 11th postpone date was the inaugutrration date at Abuja.
Hon. Fathiu also stated that Lagos Assembly had asked parties to the disputes to confine themselves to document (s) before 2003 when the 37 LCDAs were created out of the old 20 LGs in the State.
“Ijede also has it own map which was presented during the meetings. Regarding the delineation that Hon. Adeshina is talking about, we have been told by the Assembly members that whatever document(s) that we are going to tender must be dated from 2003 when the new councils were created and that any document before that will not be tenable and will not be recognized by the Assembly because the bone of contention is the boundary of councils created in 2003 and those delineations and others were done before 2003” , Hon. Fathiu told THE IMPACT.
He added that his meeting with the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi,did not help in resolving the matter in anyway.
“I was actually invited by the Ayangbure of Ikorodu and took my time in explaining all these issues to him but I discovered that we were not on the same page. Kabiyesi also presented a map which he got from the government showing the old 20 local governments in the state, but which has been divided into 57 councils. These councils must definitely have starting and ending point. This has been my position.
On Ijede boundary issue with Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, Hon. Fathiu stated:
“Regarding Ijede and Igbogbo, by the map with me and the administrative position of Lagos State, Ijede starts from Oju-Oparun along Igbogbo road where they normally sell palm wine.There is a particular portion there. From that Oju-Oparun to Linksbond School back to the dumpsite and Gbodu,the areas belong to Ijede.
“Elepe and Gintin are not part Igbogbo but the council is also claiming ownership over them because it has Baales on those lands. We are faced with same problem with IKorodu and Igbogbo but I have told them that the issue is boundary and administrative position of the state and I also know that the crisis is caused by revenue.
“People that are inhabiting in Itoikin are traditionally from Ogun State but they are under Lagos State administratively, same with Ogijo people who are from Ikorodu but they are under Ogun State, why can’t they say no because of the boundary that created them has placed them in another territory? Why can’t our people reason in that direction? I don’t want to fight with anybody because they have taken the matter to another level”.
Confirming the intervention of Ikorodu elders in the matter, Hon. Fathiu added disappointedly that many of them do not see the issues from his angle.
“There was another meeting that I attended in another ground over the disputes which was postponed till after the elections and we are still expecting calls from our leaders for the rescheduled meeting. But very unfortunately, many of our leaders are yet to see that what the Lagos State government recognizes is the law that created the councils vis-à-vis the boundaries in the 2003 law and not the ones in pre-2003.
“When I had discussion with Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun, he showed me documents of 80s which INEC used in delineating wards but we were told bluntly by the Assembly that nobody should talk about or bring out any document pre-dating 2003”.
Suggesting way out of the issue which may degenerate to what Ife and Modakeke experienced some years back, Hon. Fathiu stated.
“To me , this is not even a crisis if Hon. Adeshina is seeing it the way I’m perceiving the issue. What Ikorodu local government is having , Ijede doesn’t have 25% of it. There is no single market in Ijede and the number of Okadas in Ikorodu is more than 2000 while the total number of Okadas in Ijede is not even up to 200.The same goes for Marwa, car parks, shops and other sources of revenues” , the Ijede Council Chairman explained.
“Just mention a single commercial area that we have in Ijede. In Ikorodu, you can talk of Garage, Ladega, Sabo and many other areas but we have none in Ijede. Also , look at the big stores like Adide, Sweet Sensation, Justrite and others. If I am in that position, I will simply say that you are our baby and we need to allow you to grow too. I am not saying here that I want to grow fraudulently but talking about the position of the state,I am not hijacking or intruding” ,Hon. Fathiu stated.
The Ikorodu Local Government Chairman, Hon. Adeshina , while stating that there is no dispute between Ikorodu, Ijede and Igbogbo, added that there is need for the Assembly that created the LCDAs out of the old 20 Councils to make clarifications concerning boundaries.
“ I don’t think that there is any dispute between Ikorodu and Ijede. What is on ground is that we need clarifications. Each of the councils is looking for clarification as to what the law that created the Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) says in term of boundaries.
Contrary to Ijede LCDA Chairman’s claim over Agura, Gberigbe and others, the Ikorodu LG Chairman stated that those areas and neighbouring areas belong to his council.
“That is the issue and we still remain as one. From all indications, all that I know is that Ikorodu local government owns Agura ward and that is the fifth ward that was given to Ikorodu by the creation. Agura ward , from onset , has its own communities and part of the communities are Omitoro, Ewu-Elesin, Poro-Mosan, Poro-Boge, Mowo-Kekere, Gintin, Igbodu, Mowo-Nla, Ewu-Owa, Mashe and Agura itself.
Aside traditional rights which Hon. Adeshina stated that Ikorodu has over the areas Ijede is claiming administrative rights over, he also established that electoral and administrative rights lie with Ikorodu.
“There are also Ewu-Owa, Jabe, Igbopa, Gbodo. Gbodu is the central point of Agura community where the people usually have their meetings. All these are Ikorodu towns. People inhabiting in these communities know that they belong to Ikorodu.
“The boundary between Ikorodu and Ijede stops at Oke-Olokun. At Oke-Olokun, there is a swamp and after it, is Ijede’s boundary. From what I know, Ijede stops at Igbopa and there are evidences to this effect. Ijede has two wards. We have Ewu-Owa, Gbodo , which is a community under Ewu-Owa. After Gbodo, there is Jabe, Igbopa,” , Adeshina stated.
“I have a plan (map) given to me by the Surveyor-General with all these villages listed within the jurisdiction of Ikorodu local government. The place in question is Gbodo which is a community under Ewu-Owa and Ewu-Owa belongs to Ikorodu. Another important angle to this is that the descendants of this place are from Ikorodu. They live at Itunmeko where their family house is located”.
Buttressing his points, he also stated that the petitioner is from Ikorodu.
“The person that wrote the petition to the Lagos State House of Assembly lives at Aga in Ikorodu. He also has his family at Itunmeko. Boundaries have to do with history and affiliations. The map clearly shows where these people belong.
“The matter is before the Lagos State House of Assembly , the body that created the new councils and they have asked the Surveyor-General to show them where each of the councils’ boundaries starts and ends”.
On Ikorodu’s boundary issue with Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, Hon. Adeshina admitted that Elepe, which traditionally belongs to Igbogbo , was placed under Ikorodu administratively .
He , however, alleged that Igbogbo people are preventing staff members from Ikorodu LG to administer the area.
“One thing that is very clear is that traditional and administrative settings are not same thing. Historically, Elepe belongs to Igbogbo, but administratively, the place has been placed under Ikorodu local government but the people are not allowing us to go there. The place is our land under the creation of the local government.
“If you are coming from Gintin, the land on the right hand side up to Igbe junction belong to the Ikorodu local government while everything on the left hand side are part of the Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA. If you are coming from Igbe, everything on the right hand side are part of Igbogbo while those on the left hand side were allocated to Ikorodu” , he clarified.
Like his Ijede counterpart, Hon. Adeshina accepted the intervention of the Assembly in the matter.
“When the issue first came up, that is before the elections , I went to the leadership in Ikorodu to report the matter and they formed a committee to look into the matter but we were also advised that we should maintain calmness till after the elections.
“It was thereafter that I received a letter from the Lagos State House of Assembly that there was a petition written on the issue and that I must appear before the Assembly. To me, it is a welcome development because, it is the Assembly that created the local councils and they are in best position to tell who the true owners of these lands are.
“There are gazette,map and law to the effect of the councils’ creation. The Surveyor-General should also come and tell us where the communities in questions are on the map.
He appealed that his counterparts in Igbogbo/Bayeku and Ijede LCDAs should maintain the status quo and allow peace to reign until the Assembly’s decision on the matter
“Like I have said before, we are one and we shall continue to be one. I appeal to my colleagues that we should just hold on till the Lagos State House of Assembly makes its decision on the matter. The House has also directed that the status quo should be maintained until the determination of the matter” , Hon. Adeshina appealed.
Also, in an interview with the Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA Chairman, Comrade Sesan Daini , in his office, he said that he decided to join the matter before the Lagos Assembly because , as the body that created the LCDAs, it would help in solving problems associated with boundaries in the division.
“I decided to join because I believe that the solution to the boundary issues, not particularly affecting my council alone, can only be gotten from the Lagos State House of Assembly because that is the body that created all the LCDAs and definitely has the necessary documents in this regards.
“So, I joined because I know that there is going to be fruitful results , especially between Igbogbo/Bayeku and Ijede LCDAs and Igbogbo/Bayeku and Ikorodu Local Government” , Daini stated.
Meanwhile, the Ranodu of Imota, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ajibade Agoro, told our reporter in an interview at the Ayangbure palace , that the traditional council in the division is not aware of the boundary issues .