BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The family members of a former Principal of Government Technical College, Osogbo, capital of Osun State, Azeez Olabode, have accused an ex-chairman of the Parents and Teachers Association in the state, Bisi Olaniyan, of grabbing their father’s land and building a house on it.
It was gathered that Olabode, now deceased, had spent the sum of N680,000 which belonged to the school where he worked as principal. The money was said to have been paid by some of the students of the college as fines for fighting and damaging properties in the school between 2013 and 2014.
When late Olabode, who retired as a Director in the state Government Technical Board, was asked to remit the money to the school purse by the PTA of the college, he failed to do so because he had spent it.
However, the PTA reported Olabode to the state chapter of the PTA and he was compelled to pay the money. After paying N200,000 out of the total amount, he reportedly submitted the documents of one plot of land at Okinni community, Egbedore Local Government Area of the state, belonging to him, to the state chapter of the PTA as collateral and promised to pay the remaining amount.
The children of the late principal have been battling the Osun State PTA Chairman, Bisi Olaniyan, whom they claimed took the land documents, converted the landed property to his own and also built a house where he is currently living on it.
They further alleged that the shock Olabode experienced when he discovered that a house had been built on his land by Olaniyan, contributed to his demise in 2021.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Ghaniyyah Olabiyi alleged that Olaniyan fraudulently converted the land to his own, having been in possession of the documents.
Olabiyi explained, “Government Technical College PTA was actually concerned about the money that our late father (Olabode) was holding for the school. But, when the school couldn’t conclude on what they wanted to use the N680,000 for and our father needed the money, he spent it. The then PTA Chairman of the Technical College had requested that the late principal release the money to the school for the repair of the damaged properties. The principal told him that he should give him sometime to produce the money because he had spent it.
“When the principal couldn’t remit the money on time, the PTA Chairman now approached the then Osun State PTA Chairman, Dr Ekundayo. The state PTA invited the PTA chairman of the Technical College and our father. When our father was asked how he intended repaying the money, he said he would pay it in instalments after receiving his salaries. So, he paid N50,000 every month for four months, making N200,000 before Dr Ekundayo left office. When he left office, his successor, Bisi Olaniyan took over. Olaniyan invited our father, the principal, again on the matter and reminded him of the remaining money to be paid. At that time, the principal had already been promoted as a Director in the Technical Board.
“Following the pressure being mounted on him to repay the money, considering that his retirement was close and that they threatened to lodge a formal complaint against him at the Ministry of Education, he had to drop his land documents with the Treasurer, Sakariyau Eniola, that the treasurer should explain to the chairman (Olaniyan) that he would use the land as collateral and that after payment, he would repossess his land. The principal never wanted his reputation tarnished.”
“The treasurer delivered the message but unfortunately, the secretary of the chairman was telling us that the chairman had already built a house on the land our father used as collateral. At first, we thought Olaniyan later paid the N480,000 balance to our father and that was why he decided to illegally take over the land, but we discovered that he didn’t pay any money to the association,” she claimed.
She added, “We have demanded that they should give us the land documents so that we can repay the debt owed by our father but he (Olaniyan) didn’t give us the documents. The cooperative of the Ministry of Education to which our father belonged allocated the land to our father at Okinni. Surprisingly to us, Olaniyan changed the name of the land at the Ministry of Education and we are asking that he should give us an evidence to show that our father transferred the land to him but he has not been able to do.
“Our father was expecting his pension and gratuities and he wanted to use part of it to offset the debt and then build a house on his land. When he discovered that Olaniyan had grabbed his land and even built a house on it, he developed shock and he never recovered from it till he died.”
The family said the former PTA chairman had been threatening their lives since the incident happened. It was gathered that the Dada Estate Police Station in Osogbo arrested Olaniyan recently over the matter.
When contacted for reaction, Olaniyan denied grabbing the land and submitted that the late principal sold the land to him, with the approval of the cooperative society of the state Ministry of Education.
“It is not true that I grabbed the land. I got the land from their late father (Olabode). The land belonged to the cooperative initially. The cooperative society acquired the land to the tune of 230 plots in Okinni. So, by the time we started the transaction between us, when I paid the money, the man (Olabode) himself took me to the cooperative office during his lifetime that the ownership of the land belonged to the cooperative and that he could not singlehandedly transfer the ownership of the land to me unless he transferred title deeds to the cooperative.
“During his lifetime, the cooperative called me because he dropped my name and number with them, I was never a member of the cooperative. So, they called me at the cooperative that I should come and pay additional N90,000. I didn’t take any land documents from my treasurer. I have the land documents given to me by the cooperative society. On this issue, the state Ministry of Education had sent for me and I went. The cooperative said they issued the land papers to me. So, if the family of Olabode are asking for their father’s land, they should go to the cooperative,” he said.