The Christian Association of Nigeria, Oyo Zone, on Tuesday insisted that the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, must hands off a disputed land at the Ayetoro Scheme in Oyo town, saying the land belonged to the body.
However, in a letter that was signed by the first class monarch, Oba Adeyemi said the land and the adjoining property belonged to the crown.
The PUNCH had reported that the Oyo CAN, led by its executive council members, recently embarked on a protest against Alaafin, saying the land, measuring 96 plots (approximately 16 acres), was procured by the body from the old Oyo Local Government Area authorities.
On Tuesday in Ibadan, the Christian body lamented that Oba Adeyemi had been selling parts of the said property to some investors in the town.
The Director of State Issues and Social Welfare, CAN, Bishop Daniel Oluwajimade, said, “Almost about 16 years ago, the Christian Association of Nigeria bought 16 acres of land from the local government council in Oyo. They have been paying the yearly tenement rate to the local government council.
“We discovered that Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has encroached on the land. Today, the police in Oyo town invited the CAN coordinator in Atiba to the Atiba Police Station. The case has been transferred to Iyaganku in Ibadan.
“The land is not owned by the CAN in the Atiba Local Government Area, but the entire CAN in Oyo town.
“Our demand is that Oba Adeyemi should leave that land. It is not his land. The land belongs to CAN. The zone paid for it.”
However, the Alaafin, in the letter on Tuesday, said contrary to the allegation by the Oyo Zonal CAN, the land and the adjoining property belonged to the king.
Alaafin’s letter read in part, “Ordinarily, it is not in the practice or tradition of the Oyo palace to engage in public controversy with any sector of Oyo community, especially on religious matters.
“For the record, the land hitherto named as Ayetoro Scheme is erroneous, as the entire area is known as ‘Gbofin’ which incidentally is one of the ancestral stool land of the Alaafin with approximately 1,118 plots as against the 96 plots claimed to have been owned by CAN; and Alaafin has been exercising ownership and in so doing, some parts of the land were allocated to members of the royal family without any consideration and have been inhabited by them or their allottees for a reasonably long period of time with over 2,000 buildings without disturbance from any quarters, including Atiba Local Government Area.
“It is also on records that it was through the instrumentality of the Alaafin that such reputable and highly revered religious bodies like the Baptist, Anglican, Methodist, Catholic and of late, Pentecostal churches, were provided with auspicious land settlements in Oyo. This magnanimity goes to the extent of the Alaafin providing space for Sunday church service in his palace.
“To allege that the Alaafin of Oyo is trespassing or attempting to grab the said land is not only absurd, but alien. Can the owner of the land be a trespasser or grabber of his own property? It looks not only absurd, but paradoxical for a group who supposedly parade themselves as godly people to be involved in fraudulent claims over land that was not only illegally transferred to them by Atiba LGA, but also fraught with inconsistencies as against the Alaafin, who had surveyed and registered the same land since 1996.”