Caution new Oniru, Lekki residents’ group tells Sanwo-Olu

A group of residents on Oniru Private Estate in the Lekki area of Lagos State have asked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to warn the new Oniru of Iruland, Oba Gbolahan Lawal.

The group, in an open letter to Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday, accused the monarch of being despotic and disrupting the peace of the community.

According to the letter, residents on Oniru Private Estate made investment in the community after due diligence, saying till date, no one had challenged their titles which they obtained from the Oniru Chieftaincy Family.

They claimed that they had been enjoying the interest on their investments until the emergence of the new Oniru, whom they alleged “arrogated to himself the power to seal up properties” on the estate.

“Your office’s recognition that he is the leader of the Oniru Chieftaincy Family and your consequent installation of him as Oba does not equate to the grant of a statutory right of occupancy to him personally over any land on the estate. The Oba alone cannot act on behalf of the Oniru Chieftaincy family. His recognition is ceremonial. He derives his authority from the family. Any action not sanctioned by the elders and other members of the family (as a whole) is null, void and of no effect.

“It is unlawful, uncustomary and illegal for the new Oba to be challenging the acts of his predecessors from which we derive our propertiary rights. His predecessors acted pursuant to the authority of the family as a whole. More so, sealing up properties within Lagos State is an executive action that can only be done by your office or its agency/personnel pursuant to existing laws and/or a court order. The Oba is neither an agent of your office acting pursuant to existing law which permits him to seal up any premises nor is he acting on any court order. The Oba’s actions are illegal,” the letter added.

They alleged that Lawal had constituted himself into a parallel government and vested himself with the authority to be the investigator, prosecutor, judge and enforcer over properties.

 “We therefore call on your office to call this new Oba to order,” the group said.

But reacting to the letter, a palace official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the petitioners as faceless, saying the palace would not dignify them with a response.

There had been disputes between Lawal and the family of his predecessor over certain highbrow properties in the Eti-Osa area, said to be worth billions of naira.

Trouble started on Sunday when the monarch asked some palace guards to mark some of the properties, as the son of the former monarch, Tijani Oniru, challenged them.

Some hoodlums said to be loyal to Tijani, and the palace guards were said to have clashed, which resulted in a fight.

Meanwhile, Lawal, in a statement signed by his Private Secretary, Hakeem Akintoye, on Wednesday, said the unity of the royal families and the economic prosperity of Iruland, were his priority.

Akintoye noted that the new Oniru was not interested in mundane things amidst “reported bickering.”

He pointed out that the Oniru would, however, not tolerate violence or disruption of law and order, especially based on his experience as an officer of the law.

“There is no doubt that the future of Iru Kingdom continues to be bright and promising. The ascension of Oba Lawal marks the start of the next phase of the journey into that future with initiatives that would develop Iruland. Many parties are just uncomfortable with the fact that it is no longer business as usual,” the monarch’s secretary said.

 Akintoye added that the Oniru’s performance as a former commissioner under three administrations and his legacy in the ministries of agriculture and housing stood him out as one who would bring positive transformation to the kingdom.

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