January 27, (THEWILL) – Residents of Asa Tepede Community in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State, have petitioned former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Governor Dapo Abiodun, Olowu of Owu, Oba (Prof) Saka Matemilola and the State Commissioner of Police, CP Lanre Bankole over the illegal possession of their 200 acres of land by one Bishop Hezekiah Adenekan Adesanya.
In a ‘Save our Soul’ letter, dated January 17, 2023, and signed by Baale of the community, Chief Oluyemi Akintepede, they appealed to Obasanjo, Gov Abiodun, the Police Force, Chairman, Ewekoro Local Government Area, Hon. Adesina Adisa, as well as the Bureau of Ogun State Lands and Survey, to use their powers and offices to take back their lands from the self styled Bishop for them
The Baale, in the letter titled, “Modern Day Ajagungbale In Asa Tepede Village and its Adjoining Villages On Rampage”, said that the Bishop, based in United State of America (USA) returned to the village in June 2016 and told the leadership of the community that he and his Ghanian counterpart Pastor John Hamson wanted to help them in the reconstruction of their church, Ebenezer African Church, established in Asa Tepede in 1915, without knowing his intention was to take over their lands.
He explained that the community accepted his offer to help because it had no money to further the project and as soon as the church was completed, he named it after his grandfather as Emmanuel Memorial African Church and later allegedly took over the 200 acres of land under the guise of embarking on large scale farming, manufacturing, health and education.
But, unknown to the villagers the Bishop had a hidden agenda to acquire lands for such projects and made people at the helms of villages’ administration including Pa Adisa Shoroye, Baale Samson Adeiniran, Pa Philip Adesanya, Pa Segun Ojo and Hon. Tunde Adeseun too allegedly signed a memorandum dated October, Oct 11, 2018, ceding the over 200 hectares of land to him.
The Baale, who said that the case have been taking to the court, begged Obasanjo and others at the corridors of power in the state to urgently intervene in the matter, noted that the Bishop had also published the illegal acquired land with Certificate Of Occupancy on Tribune Newspaper dated September 15, 2022.
It reads: “A piece of land situate at Akintepede village via lbeshe Yewa South Local Government Area Ogun State shown on Survey Plan No.OG/919/2020/048 of 21/10/20 with an area of 91.956 hectares and granted by Asa Oke Oko Descendant Family to Bishop Adenekan Olaoluwa Hezekiah Adesanya, 8. Agoro Street Abaroje, Ikotun, Lagos State. YS/PL/C.75
Akintepede, however, mentioned other villages in Asa Yobo ward of Ewokoro LG including Asa Apalolo, Asa Abule Egba, Asa Akekara, Asa Ilobi and Asa Olowo that the self acclaimed Bishop Adesanya had move his land grabbing activities to thus making it difficult for the indigenes to cultivate on their lands to sustained livelihoods in the face of the current economic hardship
The letter partly reads “Asa Tepede village located in Asa/Yobo ward of Ewekoro Local Government of Ogun State used to be a peaceful community until the advent of one of his estranged son self styled Bishop Hezekiah Olaoluwa Adenekan Adesanya who is based in USA. On his maiden return to the village in June 2016 he was received with joy and fanfare.”
“Before this visit he had paid a visit to the then Olowu of Owu, Owu Kingdom, Oba ‘Gboyega Dosunmu late Kanguere in Abeokuta, he also paid a visit to the current Baale of Asa Tepede village Chief Oluyemi Olawale Akintepede at Ita Oshin Abeokuta where he discussed his mission to team up with us to develop the village.
“The project that was ongoing then was the reconstruction of the village Church Ebenezer African Church Asa Tepede which was established in 1915.The Church reconstruction project was then being spearheaded by the current Baale Oluyemi Akintepede and was heavily supported by Pastor Muminir Akintepede of Kubewa Oil Nigeria limited.”
“We drew the plan of the new Church Building, started molding Blocks, fell the old structure and commence the Construction of the new Church. We fell only three walls retaining the first wall which then was newly constructed by Pastor Muminir Akintepede. We commenced construction thereafter and we took the building to the window level when we started running short of finance. It was at this point that he came in on the construction of the Church. The first thing we saw was his insistence to handle the remaining construction all alone making use of one of his cronies Pastor John Hamson a Ghanaian sacking all of us who were at the vanguard of the project.
“This was the decision he took, instead of making his contribution to the project available. Since our ulterior motive was getting the Church rebuilt we all rallied behind him. After the completion of the Church Construction what we saw was his unilateral Change of the Church name to Emmanuel Memorial African Church (named after his grandfather) and appointing a family member in the person of Chief Adio Adesanya’ Baba Ijo of the Church. Having done with this he now came up with a massive developmental plan for the village in 2018.”
“He informed he was going to initiate development in the areas of large scale farming, Manufacturing, Health and Education. All these are promises convincing enough for a poor community especially coming from one of their Sons. Unknowingly he made those who were left in the administration of the village to sign a supposedly memorandum dated 11th day of October 2018 prepared by him purportedly ceding to him over 200 acres of land, (Documents attached)”, he added.
Speaking on behalf of other villages, Baale Asa Apalolo, Nola Adio Shorunke, accused Bishop Adesanya of land grabbing activities in 12 villages including Asa Tepede, Asa Apalolo, Asa Abule Egba, e.t.c in Yobo Ward of Ewekoro LG under the guise of building companies for the villagers to work.
Shorunke, who also doubles as the Chairman of Asa Yobo Ward, alleged that the USA-based Bishop was fond of threatening the locals lives with police and thugs to vacate their large expanse of lands and efforts made by the Chairmen of Community Development Association (CDA) of the areas for the Bishop to meet with the Baales on how to resolve the issue always probed abortive.
He said, “Before the man (Bishop) started collecting the lands, he had a meeting with the Baales in my wards- Asa Yobo ward that he wanted to bring companies to the communities where all the indigenes would be working but we don’t know that he is a land grabber. He later plan with the police and started using the officers to threatening members of the communities over their lands so as to acquire them.
“When this man wants to visit the villages under Asa Yobo ward, he always come like a governor with the police and thugs to chase people away from their land and started to measure the lands. He had he had taken over many acres of lands from the villagers without even caring to have any meeting with us. There was a time we Baales later had meeting and asked the Community Development Association (CDA) Chairmen to write a letter to him over the illegal possession of their land but learnt he refused to accept their letter and invitation”, he stated.