Policemen from the Alagbon Police Station, who were assigned to arrest a “fake Chief” in Ibeju-Lekki area last Thursday were prevented from doing so by thugs and mobile policemen, purportedly hired by the Lekki Free Zone Ltd.
The policemen were to arrest Mr. Adewunmi Sokoto-aran. He is a man from the Idasho Community who presented himself as a representative of the villagers in meeting with Mr. Dangote. It was a plot to sell their land to him, and to the company known as Lekki Free Zone Ltd.
The policemen were reportedly detained, and held hostage by thugs and other men connected with the Mopol 49. Together the groups gave the cops their freedom, only on the condition of releasing those they had arrested before they would be given their own release.
Mr. Sokoto-aran had allegedly took money from the businesses men signed over a land deed on behalf of the villagers, where the land would be handed over to Dangote. He presented himself as the Chief from the Idasho Community.
The villagers said he was used by the Lagos State Government, and the Lekki Free Zone Ltd Company, to negotiate a land deal with Mr. Dangote. This was after the villagers had initially rejected pressure by the State Government.
They said they had reported him, as well as those encroaching on their land to the police, going back to April of this year.
Yet, the Police had requested time, and said they needed ‘approval’ to investigate the intruders. Since April, the community members said they had been molested several times by un-named thugs, and men from the Mopol 49, who brought along armed guards that stood menacingly on their land, all on behalf of the Lekki Free Zone.
Mr. Dangote had since that time began construction of his petrochemical plants, the villagers said, without consulting with them.
When policemen from Alagbon eventually arrived at the community on Thursday of last week to make an arrest of the fake chief, and the ‘surveyors’ encroaching on the lands, they were held down by the thugs.
Three villagers, who followed the policemen onto the site to watch them make the arrests, said they had to pray to be allowed to go. This came after they were held hostages along with the policemen.
"We had already arrested some surveyors, and two sons of the fake chief. Both were from the Agbon and Ajegunle villages. But when we were coming out, we were confronted and locked down by thugs at the gate of Idasho community," said one of the villagers who went with the police to identify suspects for arrest.
"The team from Alagbon was led by Supol Ajayi, and they had arrested the surveyors encroaching on our land, as well as the two sons of Sokoto-aran. But we were suddenly locked down at the gate of Lekki Free Zone," he said.
The witness said he could identify two people among those who had mobilized the thugs.
"One Mr. Thompson is the Deputy Director of the Lekki Free Trade Zone, and the one Mr. Lasisi, the Chief Security Officer of the Lekki Free Zone, were the ones that stood at the gate. They called out the thugs, and the men of the Mopol 49 to detain us," said the villager.
He said that at some point during their long detention, they had to plead that they collect back the arrested persons so they could regain their own freedom.
"It was only that condition they gave us, and the policemen released them before they allowed us to go," he added.