Protests broke out at Oniru Estate on Victoria Island, Lagos State, on Thursday, following an alleged attempt by children of the late Oba Idowu Abiodun to want to continue the administration of Oniru’s joint family properties and convert them for personal use.
The protesters, numbering about 100, were mostly descendants of the larger Oniru Royal Family lineage. They fingered Prince Tijani Oniru, Prince Ademola Oniru and Prince Segun Oniru as those behind the attempt to dispossess them of their legitimate right to the family to properties.
The protesters, who picketed the main entrance of the Estate, alleged that land belonging to all members of the royal family, were unilaterally sold to residents of the Estate by the late Oba Abiodun’s sons without giving account to the family.
The protesters said family members, who opposed the move by Prince Segun Oniru and his siblings to corner the royal family’s joint inheritance, were violently attacked by thugs acting on the orders of former Oniru’s children. Some other family members who also raised opposition, the protesters alleged, had been illegally ejected from houses allocated to them in the Estate.
The protesters urged the Lagos State Government and the new Oniru, Oba Gbolahan Lawal, to wade into the matter and salvage the rest of the unsold family properties.
Mrs. Khairat Obasola, one of the protesters, said the ascendancy of new Oniru brought an end to what she called “reign of terror” visited on members of the larger royal family by kings from Akiogun Line, where Prince Segun Oniru and siblings hail.
She said: “For about 85 years, we have been in bondage which the descendants of Akiogun royal line put all of us. We are happy that the selection of new Oniru from Abisogun line brought the long-sought relief. All the descendants of Oniru lineage suffered under the reign of the late Oba Abiodun, who illegally used wrong slot to ascend the throne Oniru.
“We could not dare to ask them how they were administering the joint inheritance belonging to all members of the family. They usually sent thugs after us and chased us out of our houses. The land on which the Oniru Estate is built belongs to all family, but Aremo (Segun Oniru) and his brothers were the ones who single-handedly sold the land and gave no account to the family.
“Some members of the family who were living in the Estate were forcibly ejected from their homes and banished from the Estate. They sent thugs after us when we started querying them over the attempt to convert the family’s joint properties to personal inheritance. They would slap our elders who confronted them and chased them like common criminals. Now that they lost grip of the royal stools, they want to usurp the powers of the reigning king to be receiving residential levy from people living in the Estate. This illegality must stop.”
Besides, the protesters alleged that other children and grandchildren of the Oniru lineage were being denied admission into British International School (BIS), which is collectively owned by Oniru Royal Family, thereby depriving them the opportunity to educate their wards in the Ivy school.
“None of us could register our children at British International School. They don’t want our children to have equal opportunities with their children. This is a school jointly owned by the Oniru family. We hope the new king will look at this injustice and make remedy,” Alhaji Mukaila Onimisi, a protester, said.
The demonstrators also raised the issue of monopoly established in the Estate and other areas within Oniru vicinity by the children of the former king, alleging that no individual was allowed to bring water tankers and sewage collection tanks into the area, except the late Oba Abiodun’s children.
The protesters said, thugs had, on multiple occasions, seized or destroyed water tankers belonging to some members of the royal family that were being used for water supply business in the Estate.
Ms Olaide Ajasa said: “During the reign of Oba Idowu Abiodun, only his children were allowed to do sewage collection business in the entire Oniru kingdom. Even, to supply water to residents’ domestic use through tankers; we were not allowed to do that. Only Aremo and his siblings were allowed to do the business. The thugs they were using would destroy any truck seen in the Estate that did not belong to them.
“This is the kind of monopoly they established in the kingdom. So, when they have cornered everything we jointly owned, they also didn’t want us to eat and do any business in the kingdom. We cannot continue to look helpless when those who are supposed to be their brothers’ keepers are hijacking our collective inheritance.”