MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Usman Bello
In what seemed to be like a cry for justice, protesters took to streets of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Tuesday accusing the Department of State Service (DSS) Community Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited of short changing them by not allocating portions of land they paid for, more than two years ago.
The protesters said the least subscriber among them paid N3.650million, while others paid amounts ranging between N4milion and N6million. They alleged that more than 100 persons subscribed to the landed property at the DSS Housing Estate at Elenusonso, Ile-Tuntun, Ibadan.
AtlanticNewsonline gathered from the aggrieved protesters that the DSS people had told them that the allocation of the land would be done two weeks after payment, but it has not been done two years down the line. Some members of the cooperative and non-members were asked to subscribe, with non-members paying higher amount than members.
They told journalists that they went to the DSS at Aleshinloye in Ibadan to confirm the authenticity of the land before they got involved and it was confirmed to them to be authentic, which made more than 100 non-members of the cooperative to obtain forms and fully paid between N3.650million and N6million for the land two years ago.
The Vice Chairperson, DSS Land Subscribers, Ile-Tuntun, Ibadan, Pastor (Mrs.) Adebola Ibitoye, also stated that the subscribers saw a signpost on the land, advertising it for sale in two categories – members of the DSS cooperative and non members of the cooperative.
She added that members were asked to obtain forms for N10,000 each, while non-members were asked to obtain the same forms for N15,000 each, saying more than 100 non-members of the cooperative obtained the forms and paid commulative of more than N500million about two years ago.
The protest kicked off at the locked entrance of the housing estate. There was heavy presence of operatives of Amotekun Corps and a few policemen that provided security for the protesters. The protest was also staged at the DSS Office, Aleshinloye, Ibadan. It was rounded off at the Oyo State Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, to register their complaints with Governor Seyi Makinde, who was not available to receive the protesters personally.
However, his Executive Assistant on Security Matters, Mr. Sunday Odukoya; a retired Commissioner of Police, received them on behalf of the governor and requested them to make a written official complaint and submit same to his office for onward transition to the governor’s table.
At the DSS Office, Aleshinloye, the protesters, who moved in a convoy of many cars, barricaded the entrance of the office with their vehicles at Aleshinloye for a few minutes. But about four among the protesters were allowed to enter the office, while the other protesters stayed outside with their placards, and singing solidarity songs. Pastor (Mrs.) Adebola Ibitoye, the Vice Chairperson, DSS Land Subscribers, Ile-Tuntun, Ibadan, briefed journalists thereafter that the representatives met with the Deputy Director, Administration, who told them that the new management has taken over in the office, promising to look into the complaints with a view to resolving the problem.
The inscriptions on the placards include: ‘DSS, justice delayed is justice denied. We need our land, not money’, ‘DSS, Talatos and A1 represent you as consultants. Please, give us our land’, ‘We’re demanding for the plots of lands we duly paid for’, ‘DSS Coop advertised publicly the sales of land’, and ‘DSS, you connived with your consultants to defraud us! Give us our land, not money’.
The inscriptions also comprised: ‘Nigerians, save our soul from tyranny of DSS. DSS, give us our land’, ‘DSS as law enforcement agency, should not run fowl of the law. We need our land’, ‘Collectively, all subscribers paid N450million to DSS Coop account of their accredited agents,’ ‘DSS, uphold the law you represent, stop intimidating us. Give us our land.’
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Bolaji Olayemi Sylva, explained: “We are staging a peaceful protest about this land that we bought over two years ago from DSS. We made our enquiries, called people at DSS and we went to their offices to ask questions, even before we paid. They said it was from their cooperative. Then, we all paid. We have fully paid for more than two years ago.
“As at today, we have not been allocated with our land. We have been to their Ibadan Office and we have been to their headquarters in Abuja, and we sent letters unending. As at today, nothing has been said. With the way things are now, the body language is that it is almost like we have been defrauded. This’s why we mobilised for this peaceful protest, to ask the DSS to please give us our land, they should give us our allocation.
“As we talk right now, there is development going on on that land by the DSS people. They are developing, building without giving us our own land. What have we owed them and what have we done wrong not to be given our own land? A whole lot of us took bank loans, loans from microfinance banks and the likes to buy the land. A lot of us are living in rented apartment. We thought one of the trusted agencies we could rely on is DSS. But the story is another thing.
“So, we are asking well-meaning Nigerians to help us talk to them. Our governor in Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde, should please intervene in this matter. The Director-General of DSS in Abuja, should please step into this matter. We are being helpless and we cannot help ourselves. This’s why we staged this peaceful protest to ask for help. We are asking for justice and the justice is for the DSS to give us our land. We have old men and women among us. Some of them have had stroke about this same land. We are talking about more than N500million in total.”