Elemoro seeks more development for Ibeju-Lekki

Monarch marks five years on the throne
By Tope Templer Olaiya
BARELY two weeks from now, there would be a lockdown on the Lekki-Epe expressway as drums would be rolled out at the Elemoro’s palace, Ibeju Lekki, to celebrate the fifth coronation anniversary of Oba Tajudeen Afolabi Adebanjo Elemoro, the Onitedo of Itedo, Oke-Odo in Iwerekun land.
There are five reigning monarchs in the expansive Ibeju-Lekki local council area, domiciled in the Epe division of the state. They include the Onibeju of Ibeju, Oba Rafiu Olusegun Bamidele Salami; Onilekki of Lekki, Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun; Onise of Ise, Oba Ganiu Adegbesan; Onimedu of Orimedu, Oba Hamzat Atiku; and the Onitedo of Itedo, Oba Elemoro.

Oba Elemoro

Oba Elemoro

Surrounded by traditional rulers and palace chiefs at the weekend, Oba Elemoro excitedly reminisced on the journey of the last five years. According to him, a lot of developments have occurred in his kingdom during his reign to be thankful for. “There is nothing in life without its good and bad side. But in our case the good has overshadowed the bad. This gladdens our heart because God has been by our side. I have been on the throne of my fathers since June 29, 1996, though I had spent 14 years on the throne before the Lagos State recognition came with the formal handing over of the staff of office to me on April 27, 2010.

“Since then, there has been rapid development in the land but we still need more. We have left three hectares of land to be used for primary and secondary school. Our Senator, Gbenga Bariwu Ashafa, has built a primary school for us waiting to be commissioned for use and for the secondary school, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye has promised that once the Akinwunmi Ambode administration is sworn in, preparation would be activated to kick-start the secondary school building.

Oba Elemoro

Oba Elemoro

“In addition to that, we have reserved one hectare for a community library to be built by the state government. We have also reserved land for a mobile ambulance to be stationed on the busy Lekki-Epe expressway, where we record several accidents. The facility for this has been built by Senator Ashafa. It only remains to be equipped with ambulances and personnel to provide first aid treatment to accident victims before they are transferred to hospital,” the monarch said.

It is just four days to the inauguration of the Governor-elect, Akinwunmi Ambode, but his desk is already piled with a huge file of ‘To-Do’ lists. To that file is added a few notes from the monarch, which is of upmost importance to Lagosians living in the Ibeju-Lekki axis. They include the bad state of roads in the area, absence of drainage in the water-logged communities, lack of schools and hospitals/Primary Healthcare Centres and rising insecurity and kidnapping.

Oba Elemoro

Oba Elemoro

“The road by the police station once it rains is flooded because the flow of the water from the canal to the ocean has been blocked. We have made several appeals to the state but nothing has been done. Once it rains, the expressway is always flooded to the extent that if an inexperienced driver runs into it, it would make the car tumble. “So many lives have been lost that way. Last year alone, between myself and my chiefs, we have spent over one million naira to provide palliative measure but that is not a lasting solution, because until the drainage way is opened up and some buildings on the right of way are brought down, there would be danger in the nearest future.

“On the spate of insecurity, we appeal to the state government to hasten the commissioning of the Area J Elemoro Police Command. We need security because there has been an upsurge of crime, especially kidnapping in Ibeju-Lekki.”

The Palace of the Elemoro

The Palace of the Elemoro

Those who live long on earth will have stories to tell and Oba Elemoro has a lot, both good and bad, to share. One of the sore tales is surviving two kidnap/assassination attempt on his life within six months last year. The invaders, suspected to be land-grabbers, popularly known as Ajagungbales, invaded the palace of the Oba on May 10, 2014 and November 24, 2014 at midnight, breaking a section of the fence and shooting into the air in frenetic search for the monarch. Highlighting the gravity of the invasion, Elemoro noted that it is a taboo for the king to be slain on the throne, especially in Yorubaland. “An Oba should not run away from the stool of his fathers. It has never happened in modern times. For some hoodlums to be confronting me with weapons and guns in my private residence is really scary.”

 

 

 

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Elemoro… waiting desperately for Area ‘J’ Police Command Hqts

As Oba Elemoro survives second palace invasion in six months
By Tope Templer Olaiya,
Assistant Lagos City Editor
WHEN on Tuesday, November 26, Governor Babatunde Fashola handed over the new Area ‘C’ Surulere police command headquarters to the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Cornelius Aderanti, it was hope reignited for residents of Ibeju Lekki, who are desperately waiting on the governor to extend similar gesture to their area and save them and their monarch from constant harassment of armed bandits terrorizing Elemoro and neighbouring communities in Ibeju Lekki.
The three-storey building situated on Funsho Williams Avenue, Surulere, has almost all the facilities the police need to carry out their activities effectively. The facilities include CCTV, forensic room, finger print room, interrogation room with cameras, camera office, communication equipment, gym, area commander’s quarters, separate and modern male and female cells, among others.
In his address at the event, Fashola said the state government is building five of such building but three would soon be completed. The three area commands nearing completion are Area ‘J’ in Elemoro, Area ‘M’ at Idimu, and Area ‘L’ in Ilashe area of the state.
For the thousands of citizens residing at Elemoro and environs, their last hope for a lasting peace is the commissioning of the Area ‘J’ police divisional command to scare away hoodlums that are ceaselessly disrupting their solitude and had desecrated their monarch’s palace twice in two months.

Oba Elemoro

Oba Elemoro

The spate of insecurity at the Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos worsened recently when the notorious activities of land-grabbers, popularly known as Ajagungbales sent shivers down the spines of residents in another botched assassination attempt on the traditional ruler of Oke-Odo Elemoro Land, Epe, Oba Tajudeen Adebanjo Elemoro.

Last week’s invasion of the monarch’s palace makes it the second time in six months that armed men would break into the palace at midnight in frenetic search for the Oba. The first attack took place on May 10, 2014.
On Tuesday morning, at some minutes past 12 midnight, the armed men numbering 10, broke a section of the palace fence to gain entry before announcing their arrival with several sporadic shots into the air. Gunshots were also used to breakdown the iron-cast gate of the palace leading to the private quarters of the monarch.
The rattled king, who now fears for his life, is making a desperate call to the state government to come to the rescue of the community and the palace and address the insecurity challenges in the area by first, stationing an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) in Elemoro and environs, and more importantly, activate the Area ‘J’ command to increase police presence, as according to him, the present state of insecurity is beyond the small-unit police station at Elemoro.

The fence damaged by the armed bandit

The fence damaged by the armed bandit

In a chat with The Guardian in his palace, Oba Elemoro said his life and that of his chiefs and subjects are in extreme danger. “On November 24, at midnight, these armed bandits made the second attempt on my life in six months. I was peeping from where I was hiding inside the house. I was not alone; I was with some little ones, while my younger brother, Isila Elemoro, and his family was downstairs.
“I saw some known faces among them numbering 10. They shot severally at the door, but they didn’t succeed in entering the house. They said, God save me, that if they had seen me, they would have wasted the Kabiyesi of Elemoro. It was then they went back. I know them; they are based in Oko Olomi. I can’t mention names as the father of everyone here, but if the police arrest them, I would be able to identify them,” he said.

Side view of the monarch's private residence

Side view of the monarch’s private residence

Highlighting the gravity of the invasion, Elemoro noted that it is a taboo for the king to be slain on the throne, especially in Yorubaland. “An Oba should not run away from the stool of his fathers. It has never happened in modern times. For some hoodlums to be confronting me with weapons and guns in my private residence is really scary. Moreso, election is coming and the hoodlums may begin to kidnap people very soon and people would mistake it for political violence.
“This is the second attempt and it is being traced to a woman who is challenging my kingship. I have never heard of where a lady has been crowned king in any part of Yorubaland, yet there is an usurper claiming to be king in some communities under my division. Her name is Toyin Eleku from Oko Olomi.
“She lied that it was the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade who crowned her but when the Ooni heard of it, he made a rebuttal in a Punch newspaper dated April 9, 2014 on page 69 that there is no part of Yorubaland where any woman has been honoured with a crown.
“He even went further in the statement signed by Alhaji Saka Awojoodu, the traditional secretary of the Royal Court of Ife, to state that such impostor should be arrested and prosecuted. Since then, she has been declared wanted and has gone into hiding.”

Oba Elemoro survives kidnap attempt

• Decries land grabbers’ invasion of Ibeju-Lekki
By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor
The spate of insecurity at Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos worsened at the weekend when the notorious activities of land-grabbers, popularly known as Ajagungbales sent shivers down the spines of residents in a botched kidnap attempt of the traditional ruler of Oke-Odo Elemoro Land, Epe, Oba Tajudeen Afolabi Elemoro.
The dreaded gang registered their usual presence in the early hours of Sunday at the palace of the Onitedo of Itedo, Oke-Odo Elemoro. At about 2am, the armed bandits, who came in a Special Utility Vehicle (SUV) during the heavy rain that fell that night in most parts of Lagos, broke into the palace by pulling down a section of the fence.

Oba Elemoro

Oba Elemoro

After gaining access into the expansive compound, they switched off the generating set. This abrupt termination of light alerted those residing within the palace walls, some of whom ventured to come out to check what could be wrong with the generating set. They were immediately confronted by the armed men, who requested that they be taken to where the king was.

“I ran and hid myself in the toilet,” Oba Elemoro said when The Guardian visited the palace on Tuesday. From his hiding place, he made frantic calls to some of his chiefs and the police. “The police didn’t pick their calls and by the time the chiefs came, the armed robbers had gone,” the Oba said.

The rattled king, who now fears for his life is making a desperate call to the state government to come to their rescue and address the insecurity challenges in the area by stationing an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) in Elemoro and environs.

“On countless occasions, I have written to the DPO that nobody is safe in this community and that some policemen should be sent to the palace to protect me. I have not seen any policeman till date.

“Since Monday, the chiefs have been my security, as they have been taking turns and shifts to be with me at the palace. The land grabbers have invaded this community and we are helpless. In all my life, I have never heard where an Oba is kidnapped in his palace,” he said.

The Palace of the Elemoro

The Palace of the Elemoro

The Guardian obtained a copy of a letter sent by the Commissioner of Police to the Divisional Police Officer, Elemoro, dated February 23, 2009, which ordered the deployment of two-armed static guard for Oba Elemoro at the palace. Signed by V.O. Brown, Assistant Commissioner of Police, the letter, which ordered strict compliance, stated that the two-armed guards should not be used as orderlies.

A policeman, who pleaded that his name should not be mentioned, said that the instruction from the Commissioner of Police could not be carried out because the Elemoro station is short-staffed and therefore could not afford to release two policemen to be stationed at the palace.

At the moment, the unarmed policeman attached to the Oba as orderly was provided by the Ibeju-Lekki local government chairman.

According to the Oba, no one is safe as the land grabbers are everywhere. “The police know them and where to get them. This is why we need government intervention and reinforcement so this doesn’t grow to become a monster soon.

“It’s now over five years since these land grabbers have been operating in our land unchallenged. Residents dare not pass where they are, even our children can’t move freely anymore in the community as these vicious men brandish weapons openly. As a result of this, people are leaving this area en mass,” said the monarch.

The damaged fence

The damaged fence

Another area where the Ibeju-Lekki community is seeking government’s intervention is in the provision of electricity. For two years now, residents have been living in darkness. “I spend N5,000 everyday to fuel my generator in the palace despite giving the Power Holding Company of Nigeria five plots of land for them to build a substation here.

“The same applies to the police. The community donated four hectares of land to the Area ‘J’ Command and another four plots for the police station. In fact, we constructed the station for the police and we are yet to see their impact in this community. If there was light, the crime situation would drastically reduce,” Elemowo concluded.