Fowowawo is an ancient village located in Owode Egba Local Government area of Ogun State. The once peaceful town has however become deserted as men of the Nigerian navy invaded the place while allegedly extorting villagers, torturing those who are unwilling to comply by their directives. While some have been maimed as a result of the torture, some others have been killed.
According to the exiled Baale, Chief Waheed Muraino, Fowawo was founded by their forefathers who have cultivated the land for centuries. The peace enjoyed by the villagers was cut short however when another group, the Ogunleye Family claimed ownership to the land by engaging in violence to make their stance known. Chief Olashile decided to tow the legal path by taking the matter before the court of law in the year 2009.
“In regard to the laws of the land, we decided to approach the court rather than taking the same paths with the land-grabbers by resorting to self-help.” Chief Muraino told our correspondent.
The State High Court under Hon. Justice Akinyemi ruled in favour of the Olashiles as they were declared the rightful owners of the land.
Members of the Ogunleye family led by Sufi Taiwo obviously were not pleased with the court injunction and they decided to inflict mayhem on the Olashile family, Agbege Descendants and the entire Fowowawo Village. One of those who fell victim to their terrorism was Lateefat Adenekan who visited the village with her one-year old child without knowledge of the seriousness of the fracas.
Sufi Taiwo personally and violently dispossessed Lateefat of her infant. The child is yet to be seen till date. When Lateefat’s uncle, Nurudeen Adenakan consulted the police to report the case, he was later visited at home and was beaten till he got fractured. Few days later, Nurudeen was revisited allegedly by Sufi, who poured petrol into his ears and eyes till he lost consciousness that led to Nurudeen’s death in November, 2020.
On January, 6, 2021, Sufi Taiwo led an excavator into the village in the company of some men of the Nigerian Navy to start excavation on the land.
The Baale contacted the police immediately and they appeared powerless in the presence of these men. This led to the petitioning of the Apapa Naval Base, an action that yielded no result. The naval officers currently excavate and sell sand as they extort drivers and the rest of the villagers.
Farmlands with cocoa and banana spread on about 10 acres have been destroyed. Any attempt to resist the illegality of these naval officers was met with severe terrors as people were beaten, tied and maimed. One of the many farm owners that received such brutality was Micheal Shotinoye and others were among the farm owners. A rice farm that employs thousands of the natives has also been abandoned because it was no longer safe to be there.
According to Baale Muraino, “we have petitioned the Senate, Ministry of Defence, Headquarters of the Nigerian Navy, office of the Chief of Staff, among others, but the actions have yielded little or no result. Ogun State Command of the Nigerian police has invited Sufi Taiwo several times, but they never honored the invitation once. We hereby call on Ogun State Government, human right lawyers and other well meaning Nigerians to come to our aid. The situation has become worse now that the court is not seated. I am currently a fugitive as I dare not go to the Fowowawo, a town where I am supposed to be the head”
Efforts to speak with the Ogun state naval commandant Ofem Ubi, under whose purview Obafemi Owode falls, did not yield a result as he immediately cut the call as soon he was told the caller was a Journalist. For Officer Albert Abraham, he initially rejected the call and ignored a message sent to his phone but later promised to speak with our correspondent later via a text message. Up till the time of filing this report, he has not called back and has not been picking his calls.