By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent Lagos/
LAGOS– THE traditional ruler of Onosa town in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State, Chief Lawrence Olayiwola Abudo has raised the alarm over surreptitious move by the Baale of Desa community, Mr. Jelili Oluwaseyi Arimi to Annex his community using State powers. The 80 year old traditional ruler who had been on the throne since 2008 addressed newsmen Monday, at his Palace in Onosa. He said, the said Desa community was more of a settlement inhabited by a few persons and was located by the left side of Onosa until the invasion of some land grabbers called Moyegeso in Moyegerou aka Shapale from Ijebu in Ogun State with a view to taking it over. The octogenarian noted that the matter landed them in Police state at Elemoro Division in which case, the invaders wanted to use money to influence their mission, but some upright policemen stood their ground and salvaged the situation.
He informed that it was at the police station that they asked them to nominate a Baale for the troubled Desa to forestall further encroachment adding that, that was how Mr. Jelili Arimi was selected to be the Baale of Desa community. Chief Abudo hinted that they had to sell lands to strangers who came for the purpose saying that, that was how Desa community grew in numerical strength.
According to him, “I want the Lagos State Government to call Mr. Jelili Oluwaseyi Arimi to order on his plans to annex my community, prominent sons who are half Desa and half Onosa made him Baale when the life of Desa was threatened, now he has become powerful so much so that he wants to annex Onosa. We know he has the support of some powerful personalities in the corridors of power but we won’t fold our hands and watch it happen. It maybe disastrous.
“Onosa is an ancient town which has been in existence for over 400 years owned by three families-Fokunade, Abudo and Aranmoletiesho and there was official gazette to that effect from the then State government. This Desa, was a farm land where we used to plant cassava because it was more of a settlement until the invasion of of Moyegeso in Moyegerou aka Shapale land grabbers from Ijebu in Ogun State.
They wanted to take it over but God being on our side and agelong history too, we triumphed. We were advised at the station to get a Baale to head this Desa community and that was how we selected Jelili Arimi as Baale. Some of our prominent sons who belong to Desa and Onosa communities took him to then Oni-Beju of Ibeju-Lekki, Oba Oluwasegun Salami to crown him Baale. Records are there, you are free to go find out. These our children paid all the expenses because he had no money then, not even a car. But now, after selling lands he is rich and it is my community that he was to take over. It will not be easy for him.”
Continuing, the soft spoken Baale said, when we noticed the maneuvering of Jelili Arimi, first, we dragged him before Onibeju Lekki and he was warned never to refer to himself as Baale Desa/Onosa again, that he should remember that he was brought here to be crowned Baale Desa by some prominent Onosa people. He didn’t stop so we took him to court because he went and planted a signboard on our own boundary. The court gave an injunction to parties in dispute to maintain status quo and specifically warned him not to refer to himself as Baale of Desa/Onosa pending the determination of the substantive suit.
But in defiance to a valid court order, he has gone to the traditional tribunal to be upgraded to the status of an Oba which is why we are raising this alarm. Because if Jelili Arimi is made an Oba, the next thing is to turn all of us as his subjects; it will no longer be boundary issues,” he added.
But reacting, Chief Delili Arimi said there was no iota of truth in the allegations raised adding, “Well, there is nothing like that, arrogating to myself the Baale of Desa and Onosa, how? Onosa is an ancient town and I am even part of the community. I am not a stranger there. What I am saying is that I have lands there, and this my ownership of land is in two ways. My father was a retired federal civil servant and he named the present Desa community Desa farm. I would want you to visit me so I can take you round the land in dispute. If they are crying about my present status of Baale of Desa, I have official state gazette to that effect. Please come and see things for yourself.”