On Thursday, the Government of Oyo State announced the revocation of some parcels of land within the Agodi Government Reservation Area and Jericho area of Ibadan, the State capital.
The revocation order read in part: “Notice is hereby given to members of the public that by virtue of powers conferred on the Executive Governor of Oyo State under the provisions of Section 28, of the Land Use Act, Cap LS,No.18 of the Law of Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the underlisted plots of land located within the Agodi Government Reservation Area in Ibadan are hereby revoked by the Oyo State Government for overriding public interest absolutely and in particular for the use of the State Government.”
Shortly after that order was made public, a former Governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, headed for the courts seeking to stop the said order.
More details have, however, emerged as to the reasons behind the revocation order.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that of the nine revoked plots of land, Senator Ajimobi personally owned four, one is owned by a company said to be linked to him, while other individuals are credited with ownership of the four others.
Indeed, the plots credited to Ajimobi as contained in the records at the State’s Land Registry indicate that besides the original plots of land acquired by the former Governor, he was said to have strangely added two more plots: one housing the Protocol Officers of the State and another chalet that served the Governors of the state since the pre-independence days.
Ajimobi was credited with Quarters 361, 361(B) and 361 (C) – quarters B and C are the two other Government Quarters adjoining 361, with one of them housing Protocol Officers of government; Quarters 371 and 371, while Plot 138 Magazine Road, Jericho, Ibadan was said to have been allocated to a company linked to him.
Following Ajimobi’s acquisition of Quarter 361 and the adjoining quarters B and C, the land mass now stands at 23,627sqm, equivalent to 48 plots.
The Quarter used to House the Governors of the Old Western Region in the colonial days and the pre-independence era as well as the immediate post-independence period, where the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief S.L.A. Akintola ruled the Region.
Quarter 361 was originally said to have been acquired by former Governor Rashidi Ladoja when he served as Governor.
His successor, Adebayo Alao-Akala revoked the land and reallocated the same to Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao, the late Ibadan businessman and Islamic leader.
The late businessman in turn gave out the land as gift to Senator Ajimobi, the immediate past Governor of Oyo State, through a “Deed of Gift” registered in the Land Registry.
Government sources indicated that the veracity of the “Deed of Gift” is already being questioned and has become a subject of investigation.
But Ladoja and Ajimobi were said to have ignited rivalry on the ownership of the land immediately the former got discharged and acquitted from the trial over money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last year.
A source close to the Oyo State Government said: “Quarter 361 is not supposed to be allocated to anyone not only because of the historical value, but also for security reasons.
“The quarters stand directly between the Governor’s Office and the New Governor’s Lodge.
“A high calibre close circuit camera would readily capture the Governor’s Office and the Governor’s Lodge from either side of that building.
“Besides, the acquisition of Protocol Quarters adjoining 361 means that all Protocol Officers in the employ of the state are rendered homeless.”
The source stated further that the acquisition of Quarter 361 and others by one man violates the one man, one plot principle contained in the Land Use Decree of 1978.
Aside from that, a source knowledgeable in land matters said an individual is not supposed to be allocated more that 5,000sqm and that the 23,627sqm is way beyond the limit.
“The said Quarter 361 is way too strategic security wise. Whatever happens in the State Secretariat, and the main Government House plus the administrative offices are at vantage view of the quarter,” another source said.
Quarter 361(B) also acquired by Senator Ajimobi has file number: 56/56/3771.
It has its survey number as IB.3375, with a size of 2,279 sqm.
He was said to have acquired the land on February 6, 2019.
The former Governor also acquired another Quarter 361 (C), the land adjoining Quarter 361 marked 17/17/3714 and dated March 17, 2015.
The plot, with size 6,565sqm, has as survey number IB.2691.
One of the revoked plots of land is Block 1, Plot 1&2, Old Mammy Market, Agodi, GRA, Ibadan, which is also close to the Governor’s Lodge.
It was registered in the name of a former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, on January 18, 2019 with file number 47/47/3771 and Survey number IB.3368.
Also revoked is Block II, Plot 1, Agodi GRA registered in the name of Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo, Ajimobi’s former Deputy.
The Plot, with file number 46/46 /3771 and registered on January 18, 2019, has survey plan number IB.3368.
Block II, Plot 2 of Agodi GRA, which was registered on February 13, 2019, with file number 57/57/3771, which belonged to Olalekan Alli, a former Secretary to the State Government, was also revoked.
Equally revoked is Block III, Plot Agodi GRA, belonging to Adelodun Ajimobi, believed to be the former Governor’s younger brother.
The plot’s file number is marked 11/11/3806. It was registered on May 23, 2019 with Survey plan number IB. 3368.
The plots given in the names of Chief Akande, Adelodun Ajimobi, Alli and Adeyemo were revoked for varying reasons, including violation of Land Use Act, violation of the principle of one man one plot and overriding public interests, the Government said last week.
For instance, it was said that whereas the plots were given out as private residential by Ajimobi’s government, a number of the owners have converted the plots to commercial use and are currently developing them for commercial estates.
Said a government source on the lands: “The Land Use Decree of 1978 guarantees one man one plot, Chief Akande was allocated two plots at that location and besides the development is supposed to be owner occupier basis and it is not, that a violation of Land Use.
“The plots were being turned to commercial use though they were given out as private residential.
“There are questions being raised about the actual nature of payments.
“In some instances, the government can allow 50 per cent rebates on land payment to guarantee accelerated development but there are indications some of the said owners got 75 per cent rebates.
“Investigations on the nature of payments remitted are still ongoing.”
Plot 138, Magazine Road, Jericho, Ibadan, which belongs to a company linked to former Governor Ajimobi was also revoked by the government.
The plot, described as state land and previously occupied by the Water Corporation of Oyo State, was allocated to the private company by the immediate past administration in Oyo State.
State sources said the decision to convert the structure to private use was against its originally approved Land Use.