A former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Sagamu chapter, Rotimi Onafadeji, has been charged alongside four ex-convicts with stealing, conspiracy and fraudulent conversion.
Onafadeji was brought before the Ogun State Magistrates’ Court sitting in the Ake area of Abeokuta as a co-defendant in a land dispute case.
It was gathered that there had been a lingering dispute involving some families in the Isara Remo area of the state, where 55 hectares of land were reportedly leased to a Chinese construction company, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
The other defendants are Emmanuel Sokabi, Kazeem Fadimu, Owolabi Daniel and Sule Olowolapemo.
It was learnt that the four of them had served two months’ term each over the same matter after they were convicted by a High Court in Isara Remo.
According to Ayoola Sokabi, a witness invited by the prosecuting counsel, the land that was sold by the defendants belonged to his grandfather, Daniel Sokabi.
As stated in the charge sheet filed by the Commissioner of Police, the land now belongs to Adebayo Sokabi, Sanya Sokabi, Jumoke Akinbami, Bolaji Aiyegbusi, Jimoh Sotuga, Oyelarin Akinbowale, and Ayoola Sokabi.
Ayoola explained that the ex-convicts, in October 2012, unlawfully leased the land to CCECC under the names of Ondoka, Soyombo and Sokabi.
Ayoola, in his testimony before Magistrate O. T. Ayobolu, said the land was leased at the rate of N3.5m per annum for 10 years, totalling N35m.
He said he was invited to be a part of the alleged conspiracy and “played along to get evidence against them.”
“They were paid N25m and I advised them to make copies of the cheque, because I wanted to have solid evidence,” Ayoola added.
He further alleged that the remaining N10m was paid to Rotimi Onafadeji, who sued CCECC for the balance and was paid.
The case was adjourned till April 7 and 9, 2021.