Ha!, I knew Ejigbadero the land grabber


    ……..Peace returned after  Ejigbadero was killed

……… Emi ni nwi?

…… My land was forcefully taken in 1976

……..I have spent 70years in Lagos

The old man sat comfortably ,leaned his chin on  his walking stick ,smiled wryly , looked up and shook his head . ”Young Man let me tell you the story of my life ”, he said   and this reporter quickly  brought out  his materials and  the   action started  .


The septuagenarian  chuckled , shook his head and again adjusted himself while others listened attentively to the interview  , ”My name is Bankole Oke, I am 78years  old  now and in two years’ time I would be 80.
”I was born in Oyin -Akoko, in  Ondo State. My father was the head of the town and  he was the one called ASEMBE. There was a war in Akoko ,and when they came for my father  I led them to a brook and was later asked to go back home. I left my parents at home  and  coupled with my illness that  really  affected me  that was why I was  taken away from Oyin Akoko at the age of  five and  went to  live  with Dr.Somolu the owner of Alakuko , an area in Lagos /Ogun State, but I lived with his mother in Agege .  I was  with them throughout where I went to school .
”My father allowed me to go Dr.Somolu  because I had a sickness that  took toll  of me and  he wanted me to go to where I could be catered  for ”

Pa Oke is grateful to the Somolus,  he said ”If not  Dr. Somolu I would not have gone to school.In Lagos   I was taken to General Hospital , Lagos where I was taken care of and treated” .

Asked whether  there were Hospitals in Lagos  in the early 40s, but the man looked at this reporter with surprise  written on his face and  replied ”there had been General Hospitals in Lagos  since 50s”. He continued his story ” I was there living   with Dr. Somolu till I was   18years”
”Baba , there is a confusion here o, you need to clarify it again , how possible you left and was with the Dr. Somolu and still …?” the old man cuts in ,as he still retained his  good  retentive memory which  was still sharp, he proved that he has not gone   senile, and with confidence and calculation , he said he  returned to his parents after he had been saved from his sickness by Dr. Somolu and  ”I left my Dr.Somolu’s  place in 1959 , and went back to Oyin  where I went  to St John’s Primary school Oyin, then Baptist Modern School Oyin then I came back to Lagos again . I mean  when I regained my health   I went back to Oyin to have my education and sponsored by Dr.Somolu .  The Doctor’s mother  was living in Abeokuta.

The old man spoke about the skill he acquired, he   said ”I struggled and I later became a Draughtman. I  was among those who drew the  plan for them in Abuja ,  I mean that   hotel called Sofitel  Hotel , and President of Senate’s houses ,I joined them to draw the plans.I was under Architect Group service then”


At 78 he must have seen , heard and felt  and of course experienced the good the bad and the ugly  in life , the old man did not deny this as he said ”two things affected me in life that I can not easily forget easily  , I never knew I could survive the sickness  I had when I was small , but today I thank God for I never believe I could be up to this age.

‘The old man continued , almost in tears , he  complained bitterly on how he bought a piece of land in 1976 land  planning to erect a building on it but the land speculators truncated his ambition and the land was  taken away from him. He said ”I lived in Mushin where I would have built a house in Ogun street Mushin but it was taken away from me and  this killed my spirit and discouraged me  ,that was in 1976. The  land was taken forcefully  by the so called Awori people.The Land speculators have been doing this for   long and are known as fraudsters.

”I came to Sango looking for where I would settle  and  I started building this house in 1993 , I thank God that this is where I eventually settled today.


Pa Oke has almost become a Lagosian as he said he spent all his years in Lagos ”I have spent  70 years in Lagos apart from the five years I spent at home.I thank God  that I eventually have a house , at last I have a place in Sango,
When I came here looking for where I would settle and I came here , I started in 1993 and now here.My advise is  buyers  should be careful and do research on land before they buy , I live in Orelope here and my children live  in Mushin” .

Asked whether he knew the  popular and fearless land Speculator , Ejigbadero the iron man in Lagos then , the old man  with confidence responded  ” Oh yes , I knew Ejigbadero ,a friend took me to Ejigbadero”.  He  called  the name  with fear and trepidation again,   ”Ejigbadero?  Ejigbadero was living at …. (trying to remember ) I even knew his house but I have forgotten  ……..(trying to remember where he was living). I knew his house …… at Mafoluku .Ejigbadero was a strong man in Lagos , I knew him one -on -one, Ejigbadero was  a bulky man ,  he was tall. I remember his case when he was arrested  for a crime and he said in  Court ‘Emi ni  nwi ”(what is he saying?) after he had been found guilty and sentenced to death for killing  Raji Oba . Peace returned  to Isolo after he was killed”, the old man said , shaking his head.


The late Jimoh Isola (aka Ejigbadero) was a nail merchant  and a Socialite who  had a chain of companies in Matori Industrial Estate and was also a land grabber in Lagos.

On the  22August 1975, Jimoh Isola (aka Ejigbadero) went with thugs to the Alimosho area of Lagos and killed one Raji Oba, a man he had issues with over land but  he was not lucky and did not get away with it!. He was sighted by Raji  Oba’s wife, Sabitiu Raji Oba.He was  later found guilty in Court but went to the Supreme Court where the  judgement  was upheld  by Justice Isiaka Ishola Oluwa and  Ejigbadero’s death was sealed on  October 26, 1978. He paid the supreme price in 1979.

EMI  NI NWI?  (what is he saying?)

When Ejigbadero was pronounced guilty and the judgment  upheld at the Supreme Court, his sympathizers screamed and burst into tears while Ejigbadero being an illiterate did not understand what the Justice’s pronouncement meant and why they broke down , he then  asked his lawyer  in Yoruba Vernacular ”Emi ni  nwi ”(what is he saying?). When his lawyer interpreted it to him that he should be hanged he now broke down in tears. Since then the words Emi ni  nwi became popular in remembering him.

Author: Taiwo Abiodun

I am a blogger . taiwoabiodun.com and TAIWOABIODUN.BLOGSPOT.COM

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