• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Magodo Estate: CSP tells Sanwo-Olu to call, IGP, Malami

The Magodo episode and property rights

A Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) leading a team of over 50 policemen laying siege to the Magodo Estate, Lagos, on Tuesday, told Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu that they were sent by Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation, and Usman Baba, the inspector-general of police.

Sanwo-Olu had gone to the estate to ask the police team to leave following consistent protests by the angry residents against the continued heavy presence of the armed security operatives.

During the protests on Tuesday, the residents had locked the gate leading into the estate to deny the police access, a development that also aggravated traffic gridlock and raised tensions in the area.

But the governor’s directive to the police team to leave the estate, as the case was between the state government and the Magodo landlords was rebuffed, as the CSP told him they were deployed from Abuja and only could give them order to vacate.

Recall that some original landlords of the Magodo area had dragged the Lagos State government to court, and allegedly secured a Supreme Court judgment to have some plots of the land given back to them. On the basis of this ruling, the landlords for sometime now have been pushing to have that judgment executed using the police from Abuja as against the police from the Lagos State command.

Several residents of the estate had carried placards with different inscriptions to register their displeasure.

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They also queried the presence of the policemen, who were said to have been in the estate since last month.

But Sanwo-Olu on arrival at the estate had told the leader of the police delegation that the land matter was a case between private individuals and the state government.

Sanwo-Olu said: “Can you call your superiors in Abuja and tell them that the governor is here and as the chief security officer, you don’t have any business being in my state right now and that I want you to disengage right now?”

But the unnamed CSP replied, “I am here on the instruction of the inspector-general of police through the AGF. I am too small or too low to call them. Your Excellency sir, you can call them sir.”

After many failed attempts, the governor miffed, turned to journalists and declared the presence of the policemen as illegal, adding that he would make some calls to the IGP and AGF.

The governor said, “They (policemen) are not from the Lagos State police command. They said they are from Abuja. I don’t know what other interests do they have beyond keeping the peace of the country. This is not an expectation that I expect from them because they don’t have any business here.”

In 2021, the 17 Southern governors during a meeting had resolved that security agencies must notify them as chief security officers of their states before carrying out any operation within their domain.