Journalist petitions police over threats to life by suspected landgrabbers

A journalist and researcher, Jamiu Folarin, has petitioned the Ogun State Police Command over threats to his life and the malicious damage to his property by suspected landgrabbers in Abeokuta, the state capital.

Penpushing reports that Folarin in the petition addressed and forwarded to the Divisional Police Officer at Sabo/Ilupeju Police Station in Abeokuta, detailed the sequence of events leading to his distressing situation.

‘I started noticing a series of threats to my life when I hosted a radio programme on Rockcity 101.9 F.M on the criminal activities of land grabbers in Ogun State as well as in-depth investigation into corruption in the execution of federal government projects across the State”, he wrote

Penpushing further reports that he explained in the petition that he had purchased two plots of land through the Crescent University Abeokuta Cooperative Society (CRESCOOPS) over two years ago, describing the tranquility of his land ownership until recent weeks.

‘There were no issues on the land for the past two years but a few weeks after I hosted a programme on land grabbers and did a special investigation on the execution of federal government projects in Ogun State”, Folarin added

Penpushing also reports that he noted that subsequent to his media engagements, he has been subjected to a series of alarming incidents including intimidating phone calls, surveillance by unknown persons, and the most recent act of vandalism on his property.

The journalist added in the petition that all four corner pieces demarcating his two plots of land located at Olaparun village, near Yewa College of Education in Rounda, Abeokuta, were destroyed, stressing that intruders then proceeded to erect a mini-fence 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.

Penpushing reports that Folarin emphasised the urgency of the situation as he cited the apparent connection between the threats to his life, the trespassing, and the damage to his property as an attempt to silence him and impede his investigative efforts.

The researcher, however, appealed to the authorities for a thorough investigation into the threats and property damage, seeking the apprehension and prosecution of those responsible and equally requested protection due to the sensitive nature of his work.

Penpushing further reports that Folarin in the petition attached evidence includes details such as documents, phone numbers and Truecaller app identifications linked to the names on the replacement corner pieces.

The journalist emphasized that he is committed to upholding the truth, stands firm in his resolve to pursue justice and continues his media practice endeavours despite the intimidation he faces,recalling that  one of the suspects, Lukman Kehinde Kudaisi, reportedly issued further threats in front of police officers during an interrogation at Sabo Police Station on March 23, 2024.

Penpushing also reports that in his account the petitioner said Kudaisi, one of the individuals whose names appeared on replacement corner pieces on his land, allegedly threatened him once more, expressing intent to retaliate against the journalist for filing a petition against him.

The petitioner explained that Kudaisi attributed his (Folarin’s) ordeal to his continuous reporting on land grabbers during his radio programme, affirming that Folarin’s negative portrayal of such individuals had provoked the situation to threaten and damage his property.

‘During the interrogation, it was observed that some police officers, particularly the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), appeared to be familiar with Kudaisi and engaged in light-hearted exchanges with him, and to me, this raised concerns about impartiality in the investigation process’, he wrote

Penpushing reports that Folarin, however, commended the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), CSP Mustapha Opawuyi who called for diligence and directed his officers to commence a thorough investigation immediately.

The petitioner stated that subsequently, he and the suspects were taken to the alleged crime scene—the land where the malicious damage occurred, adding that after examining the site, statements were obtained from both parties, and the police instructed the accused to provide guarantors.

Penpushing reports that he said all parties involved were instructed to reconvene at the police station on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, noting that unlike the Investigating Police Officer he commended the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO), Modupe Olawamide who he said exhibited a high level of professionalism in the cause of interrogation and visit to the crime scene.

‘When we got to the crime scene, then DCO explained that the police will not interfere in the land dispute but will only investigate the criminal allegations. Despite this, the IPO could not hide her bias saying I don’t have evidence that the land belongs to me’, Folarin said

‘There is an indication that the threat to my life, trespass and damage to my property is an attempt to silence me in order not to further my investigations on activities of land grabbers and/or execution of federal government projects in Ogun State’, he emphasized

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