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25.03.2024 Featured ‘Journalist Receives Threats’ After Hosting Radio Programme on Land Grabbing in Ogun

Published 25th Mar, 2024

By Abimbola Abatta

Jamiu Folarin, a journalist and researcher, fears for his life due to threats from suspected land grabbers in Ogun State.

FIJ learned that in addition to the alleged threats to the journalist’s life, some intruders have also encroached on a piece of land he acquired two years ago.

Folarin, who believes that some journalistic work he did between September and November 2023 may have triggered the threats, told FIJ that trouble started months after he hosted a radio programme on the menace of land grabbing in the state.

READ ALSO: Rector Drags Journalists to Court for Exposing Shoddy Projects in Kwara Poly

“The threats to my life started months after I hosted a radio programme on Rockcity 101.9 FM on the criminal activities of land grabbers in Ogun State. This was in September 2023,” he told FIJ.

“For the programme, Olakunle Oluomo, the then speaker of the House of Assembly, was invited. The programme dwelt on the modus operandi of land grabbers and how they had been threatening people in the state. Callers made a lot of complaints on the programme.”

Links to the radio programme can be found here, here and here. FIJ learned that the second work Folarin did in November was an investigation that had to do with inflated multi-million naira projects executed by different contractors in the state.

“I believe there is a linkage between all of these because there was a trespass on my land in November. I got two plots of land through the Crescent University Abeokuta Cooperative Society (CRESCOOPS) two years ago, only for me to hear that some land grabbers had sold the land to another person. This land had been there without any issue for two years.

“When the land was allocated to me in 2021, the agreement was that CRESCOOPS would get the payment from my monthly salary between 2021 and 2023. I finished paying in December 2023; that’s the date on the receipt.

“I did four corner pieces on the land, but they destroyed all four and erected new ones with different names. The organisation acquired three acres of land, out of which I bought two plots, but the land grabbing started from my end. The land grabbers started encroaching on my own.”

Receipt of the land purchased after completion of payment in 2023

According to Folarin, the intruders erected a mini-fence on his land located in Olaparun village, Abeokuta, and replaced the corner pieces with new ones bearing different names, such as Funke Jolaosho, Kabeer Salako, Bilikisu Salako, Deku/Ode City and Hon L and K.

One of the now-removed corner pieces on the left side, which Folarin erected on the land when it was allocated in 2021

READ ALSO: FIJ Journalist Assaulted, Detained for Investigating Land Grabbers In Epe

PETITION FOR POLICE PROTECTION, INVESTIGATION

Folarin, who believes that there is a connection between his previous media engagements, the threats to his life, the encroachment on his land and a perceived attempt to stop him from further investigating the activities of land grabbers and government projects, petitioned the Ogun police command on Friday, March 22, 2024.

The petition was addressed to CSP Mustapha Opawuyi, the divisional police officer (DPO) at Sabo/Ilupeju Police Station in Abeokuta.

FIJ learned that the journalist and some of those who intruded on the land were subsequently summoned to the station on Saturday.

Acknowledged copy of the petition submitted to the police

“Even in front of the police officers, one Lukman Kudaisi threatened me. He said he would deal with me. He said I was so lousy and that I had the audacity to be talking about land grabbers,” Folarin told FIJ.

However, when FIJ contacted Kudaisi on Monday afternoon, he debunked the claim that he threatened the journalist.

Ikudaiis said, “It is just a civil matter, but he claimed that I intimidated and threatened his life. He said there was malicious damage, but on getting to the site, nothing was damaged. He said somebody was calling him on the phone, harassing and threatening his life. They asked him to bring out the phone number. The whole thing is just an injustice to my personality. Why would I threaten his life?”

Also, the DPO of the police station told FIJ that there were no verifiable indications of threats against the journalist’s life.

“He reported the case here, forgetting that proofs are needed to prove a particular case. Land grabbing has to do with the issue of land ownership. He said he bought it through a cooperative society, and I said the cooperative had to come alongside everyone involved,” said CSP Opawuyi.

The DPO said, “He’s trying to put forward a criminal matter in respect of a land matter, and even if it is charged to court, will it give him his land? Those people he’s complaining against have a lot of land matters here, but it is not just to label or tag them as land grabbers. They, too, are families that have land over there, though most of the land has already been sold out by their forefathers, fathers, or even themselves.”

Meanwhile, FIJ learned that the journalist and other involved parties would be at the station on Tuesday, March 26, for a final interview by the police.

“I will listen to them again tomorrow and see how the matter will be resolved,” the DPO said.

Abimbola Abatta is a reporter with FIJ writing reports in partnership with Report for the World which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.

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Published 25th Mar, 2024

By Abimbola Abatta

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