By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.
Tempers are raising and accusing fingers are being pointed against the leadership of Yoruba community in Niger state who are currently enmeshed in a scandalous land speculations, deceit and scam.
The ugly development has dragged the Yoruba community in the state into crisis, disrespect, shame and dispute.
Key figures in the alleged fraudulent land grabbing, cheating and attempt to swindle are the Oba Yoruba of Minna, Alhaji Ijaiye Kamaldeen, the President Omo-Odu’a Yoruba Community in Niger state, Dr. Abdullahi Jimoh and some of their lieutenants.
Kamaldeen, Jimoh, Mukaila Lawal and Yekini Raimi are alleged to have persuaded and lured some members of the Yoruba community in the state to buy a large expanse of land to build a Yoruba community housing estate at the outskirts of Minna, the Niger state capital.
The leaders were said to have offered to front for members of the Yoruba fraternity in the deal to buy the plots of lands for and on behalf of their members from the natives.
Monies were collected from interested members of the two groups to acquire the plots of lands for the proposed Yoruba community estate.
The alleged scam had gone on unsuspected for about three years. Investigations revealed that the leaders had printed forms which they give to interested members for an agreed sum of money as negotiations continue with locals who had supposedly agreed to sell their lands.
The lid was however blown when one of those who were privy to the shoddy deals by the Yoruba leaders blew the whistle, alerting few members that the land business was a scam because the Gbagyi communities where the said plots of lands were to be acquired had since backed out of the deal.
This prompted the members to begin to ask questions and demanded to see the land before they could complete the payments.
Our source said almost all the members had paid up to 75% of the required sum without seeing the plots of lands they were buying.
One of those who had paid for the plots said each time they asked their leaders to take them to the site, they were told to wait till the whole process was completed. He alleged that members had paid over N2 Million for plots of lands.
Another aggrieved member said after much pressure, he was taken to a large expanse of land laying falour along Gidan-Kwano area but the villagers rose quickly and told them to leave the place.
The natives had accused the Yoruba leaders of trying to use them to perpetuate a fraudulent land grabbing deal.But when contacted over the matter, the Oba Yoruba of Minna, Alhaji Kamaldeen Ijaiya denied involvements in the land speculations or for fraudulently extorting monies from his subjects.
He said his involvement in the matter was to settle the grievances amongst the Yoruba community members.
He lamented that some faceless persons were trying to smear his image and reputation by linking him with the issue of land speculations. He said the matter had already been taken to court.
But Dr. Jimoh conceded that there was an issue over land matter as claimed by some Yoruba people in the state.
He however noted that it was wrong for some members to embark on campaign of calumny against him and other leaders of the Omo-Odua Yoruba community who have been trying to promote the interest, well-being and the Yoruba culture in the state.He insisted that plots of lands were actually acquired for interested members and allocated accordingly to those who have paid.