Osun monarch, chiefs, others risk jail terms over disputed land

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The police in Osun prosecuting the alleged destruction of corner pieces and pillars on a land by a traditional ruler, the Olokinni of Okinni, Oba Akadiri Okanla, his two chiefs and two others, on Friday, brought two witnesses before an Osogbo Magistrate’s court to testify against the accused persons.
Oba Okanola, aged 68; Chief Opatola Muhammed, 70; Chief Rapheal Adeleke, 60; Sulaiman Rasak, 40 and Ganiyu Ishola, 60, have been on trial since 2012 for allegedly destroying the corner pieces and pillars on a piece of land located at Oke Okanla via Okinni in the state.
According to the Police prosecutor, Inspector Joshua Oladoye, the accused persons and others now at large, committed the offence on July, 31, 2012.
The prosecution argued that the offence were contrary to and punishable under Section 517, 81 and 541 of the Criminal Code Cap 34, volume II, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2003.
The accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the three count charge.
When the case came up for hearing on Friday, the prosecution called two of its witnesses to testify against the monarch and others alleged to have done damage to the land belonging to the family of Eesa in the town.
The prosecution witnesses, Babatunde Yekeen and Azeez Popoola, said the accused persons destroyed some cash crops on the farmland on the 31st day of July, 2012, aside from demolishing its pillars and corner pieces.
While being led in evidence by the police prosecutor, Yekeen, a member of the Eesa family, said the family head had briefed him about the incident before he went to report the development to the accused monarch, who laid claim to the land in dispute.
According to the witness, the monarch admitted that he ordered the other accused persons to carry out the destruction of the pillars and corner pieces.
Popoola, the second prosecution witness in the case, claimed that he was working on the farmland when the accused persons stormed it and started destroying the corner pieces and pillars.
He said he escaped from the scene and reported to some elders in his family, who later reported the matter to the police at Zone 11 in Osogbo, resuling in the arrest of the traditional ruler and others. While being cross-examined by the defence counsel, Bola Ige, the witness admitted that although land belonged to monarchs by tradition, he insisted that the land in dispute belonged to the Eesa family, a chieftaincy titled clan in the town.
The monarch and the other accused persons, who were present in court, had been admitted to bail since  theri arraignment in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties, each in like amount. Meanwhile, the prosecution announced to the court that it had two other witnesses to be called on the next adjourned date.
The presiding, Magistrate, Olusola Aluko, adjourned the matter tol September 9, 2016, for further hearing.