Mar. 29, 2014
A Mobile Police officer, Tajudeen Sodiq, one of those deployed to the Pankere Village in Idasho community by businessman, Aliko Dangote, has provided confirmation they have the orders of the wealthy businessman to “clear” out the villagers for his refinery project, telling the displaced villagers of the nature of their instructions after chasing them out.
Some of the women who were molested by the policemen yesterday were taken to a hidden place and beaten with nail-tacked clubs.
“They said they would not shoot gun at us because it may not penetrate. So they tacked nails on woods and beat us mercilessly,” said one woman who was released by the policemen last night. Two other women taken away by the policemen had still not been found as at press time.
Policemen from the local station had defied Mr. Dangote’s call to carry out the “clearing” away of people, pointing out that the disputed land was in court. However, the residents say some of the new policemen who told them they were invading at the demand of Mr. Dangote, are from the Lagos Police Command, apparently obliging the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola.
Curiously, the residents also said they recognized some of the new “policemen” who arrived at the village today as touts from the area town. They said they were shocked to see well-known touts wearing police uniforms and entering the village to clear out any residents who may want to return to their homes. This suggests that even deeper under-handed methods are being employed by the businessman and the governor in the effort to appropriate the land.
“Presently, we are homeless and we are just squatting. We want to go back to our homes but the policemen are threatening to kill us at sight,” the homeless villagers said.
A few weeks ago, policemen fired shots into a house and injured an old man as they chased the residents out of their homes.
Governor Fashola had threatened to deal with the villagers without compensation if they resisted his quit order. Messrs. Fashola and Dangote are accused of shunning court processes, refusing to wait for the suit in court over the disputed land to be disposed of.
Video link to Mr. Fashola’s threat to the villagers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo4jCXuMCrk
A local chief of the Panseke village in Idasho, Julius Samuel, said he visited the Police Station to complain about hoodlums appearing in police uniforms to terrorize his village, but that the police only promised “to do something about it.” He said the police advised them not to return to their homes so as not to provoke the hoodlums.
Although Mr. Dangote claims he had paid to take over the village, the villagers, including their chiefs, said they were not contacted or paid by anyone for their land.