Youths Protest Encroachment On Recreation Ground | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Youths Protest Encroachment On Recreation Ground

Posted: Jul 10, 2015 at 5:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Andrew Utulu  –  LAGOS


Youths in Gowon Estate, Egbeda, a suburb of Lagos State on Saturday staged a peaceful protest against incursion on an open land in the estate designated for recreation.

The land which had a football and pitches was at the verge of being forcefully taken over by land grabbers otherwise called Omoniles.

The youths however have vowed to resist attempt by the so called land grabbers to take over the recreational ground owned by the Federal Government.

They carried banners and placards with inscriptions that read; give us our land, Omonile leave our land alone and this is a Federal Government Housing Estate etc.

The protesters called on the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the State and Federal Government to urgently wade into the matter in order to avert bloodbath in the area.

The Area Commander, Area ‘M’, Idimu of Lagos State Police Command, Akika Austins, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) after assessing the disputed land appealed to the youths to maintain peace.

Akika who was accompanied by the Divisional Police Officer, Gowon Estate Division, Festus Otabor asked the youths to toll the line of dialogue.

“The idea of restiveness will not yield positive result. It is for the purpose of peace that I am  here” he said. The leader of the youths, Eghosa Ogunbor said  as much as they believed in dialogue, they were ready to fight for their right.

He noted there were betrayals among them.  While appealing to the youths to desist from taking law into their hands, Egbosa said he believed   that the police would “do their job thoroughly, but if they fail, the youths will take another step.”

He said information at his disposal was that the Omoniles that came to forcefully take over the recreational ground had plans to sell each plot for N15million.

He warmed that if the teaming youths in the area have no place to recreate, crime rate may rise in the area. A former President of Youth Association in the area, Kelvin Esamgbede said the issue had been lingering for the past 25 years.“This is a federal housing estate. We should have a recreational ground. Omoniles have been coming into the estate with intention to acquire and sell each plot for N15million.”

Apart from the former youth leader, others who spoke with our correspondent also bared their minds on the issue. Morgan Agukereonye said he was baffled the way people do things as if there is no government.

“I was born here. Somebody came and said Omonile own our recreation ground. The government through the Federal Housing Authority should come to our aid.”

Ibrahim Abubakar said that the estate was a Federal Housing Estate. “There is no reason why the Omonile should come and take over the land that belongs to the federal government.”

For Coach Opkara Ndubueze, Chairman, Gowon Estate Resident Sports Association, he said they were protesting the encroachment by Akiogun family who were trying to take over the land because great footballers like Taiye Taiwo, Andrew Egueavon and several others started their football career from that recreation ground.

He noted that the Federal Housing Authority seemed to be handicapped on what was happening in the estate.