Construction workers and contractors handling a Federal Housing Estate project in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Monday fled from the site as traditional worshipers stormed the estate to perform a supposed annual ritual.
According to The Nation, the worshippers, clad in white, came with a black fowl, white pigeon and other fetish objects to perform the ritual.
Following the apprehension caused by the worshippers, the Managing Director of the firm handling the construction, Otunba Ademola Akin-Benson, invited policemen and the worshippers were taken to the Ondo Police headquarters.
AMILOADED gathered through The Nation that Otunba Akin-Benson informed the police that the worshippers were being sponsored by some land grabbers to stop further work on the site.
He said the land was legally acquired by the federal government for the purpose of building the low-cost estate.
Akin-Benson disclosed that thugs and ritualists had previously attacked workers at the estate which made him to seek legal redress and the court ordered all parties including the Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, to maintain the status quo and allow the project to continue.
His lawyer, Mr. Femi Emodamori described the presence of the worshippers as traditional hooliganism saying the land was acquired with other adjoining lands by the State Government over forty (40) years ago, after payment of compensation to the original owners.
Emodamori said the land was subsequently released to the Federal Government for federal projects in the state.
“Consequently, according to our clients, the land is covered by Federal Government Layout, and also has adjoining Federal Government structures like the State Police Command Headquarter where your office is located; The Ondo State Headquarters of the Nigerian Customs Service; The Ondo State Headquarters of Nigerian Immigration Service; The National Population Commission’s Office; and the Federal High Court building, amongst others.
“Our clients stated that construction works had started on the land almost immediately, but later suffered some delays occasioned by inadequate funding. The lease agreement between the Federal Government and our clients on the project was however recently renewed and/or extended, a sequel to which massive construction works on the land resumed.
“According to our clients, the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, had in recent times been sponsoring thugs to disrupt and destroy the project, in connivance with some officers of the Akure Office of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, for reasons which the Kabiyesi did not initially disclose, until recently when the Kabiyesi started demanding, both directly and through his proxies, for six (6) acres of land at the project site, as well as some other monetary and material gifts for some traditional ceremonies.
“These demands are unjustifiable, illegal, obnoxious and purely extortionist. For the avoidance of doubt sir, our clients have Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade on tape making some of these demands, and would never make any allegation against the Royal Father which is not backed with forensic and undeniable evidence.”
Leader of the worshippers, Chief Abisoye Asoga, the Adigun of Akureland, who denied allegations of land grabbing, said they were at the estate to perform the ritual at a small rock inside the estate, at least once in ten years.
On his part, Oba Aladetoyinbo said the land belonged to Akure traditional worshippers.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Michael Adeyeye, the Akure monarch said the ritual at the estate site was in line with the community’s tradition.