Army refutes allegation of land grabbing in Osun

COAS Lagbaja

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja

By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Nigerian Army has described as misinformation the case regarding a controversial land tussle between it and 65 family compounds in Oshogbo, Osun State.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement on Wednesday, said the land in question had been a subject of agitation by the people of Oshogbo for a long time.

Nwachukwu said the litigation predated the appointment of the current Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja on June 19, 2023, contrary to the allegations against him.

This, according to him, is clearly evident in the agitators’ claim of possession of a High Court Judgement obtained sometime in January 2023, while Lagbaja was still the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division Nigerian Army in Kaduna.

He said the attempt to wrongly portray the person and office of the COAS as the protagonist behind the land tussle in the eye of the public was simply a clear act of mischief that would serve no useful mediatory purpose.

According to him, it is an attempt to denigrate the hard-earned excellent reputation and integrity of “a detribalised, selfless and patriotic COAS.

“As an institution committed to upholding the Rule of Law and respect for the rights of the citizenry, the Nigerian army will unabatedly continue to be a law-abiding institution and at all times, pursue the fulfilment of its obligations under the law.

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“Suffice it to say therefore, that the Nigerian Army has taken cognisance of the judgment of the High Court of Justice of Osun State in the case of Chief Amodu Akanbi Suleiman Folorunsho & Others V. Attorney General of the Federation & Others.

“The Nigerian army has initiated an appeal against the decision of the lower court at the Court of Appeal, Akure.

“It is trite that the filing of an appeal against a court decision operates as a stay of execution of that court decision.

“Thus, it is only advisable that all parties maintain the status quo until the resolution of the appeal,” he said.

Nwachukwu urged the public to discountenance the ‘misinformation’ being circulated to prevent being misled and taken advantage of, by persons and groups with ulterior and sinister motives.

He said the Nigerian army would continue to work in collaboration with relevant authorities to address any legitimate concern and ensure that justice prevails.

“We appreciate the very apt and timely intervention of Honourable members of the House of Representatives and the Osun State House of Assembly in the matter.

“We also solicit the understanding and support of other stakeholders and the public, as we strive to maintain peace and security in our nation,” he added.

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