The crisis between the children of the late Oniru of Iruland, Oba Idowu Abiodun; and his successor, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, has degenerated into violent confrontations.
The violence, it was learnt, was over the control of some properties in highbrow Oniru, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.
People & Politics recall that following the installation of Lawal as the 15th Oniru last month, the children of the late king continued to maintain control of some of the properties worth billions of naira.
The new king in a statement by his lawyer, Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), subsequently asked all banks housing funds belonging to the royal family to immediately freeze all the accounts of the family.
The new monarch also called on all tenants and lessees to stop transacting with any individual.
It was, however, learnt that the family of the late monarch continued to exercise control over some of the properties, insisting that some of the properties belonged to them and not to the royal family.
Trouble was said to have started early on Sunday when Oba Lawal ordered some palace officials to post public notices on some of the properties under contention.
Some thugs believed to be loyal to one of the sons of the late Oniru, Tijani, was said to have led his own men to beat up those posting the notices on the properties.
A resident said, “On Sunday morning, the new Oniru’s boys went about posting public notices on some of the properties but TJ (Tijani) got his boys to beat them up and chase them away. Later in the day, as TJ was making his way into Millennium Estate, the boys regrouped and beat him up.”
In a short video clip that was uploaded on social media, the palace guards who are clad in black shirts, slap him in the face as he flees into Millennium Estate. Armed policemen are also seen trying to pacify the irate men.
It was learnt that after the fracas, some sons of the late Oniru stormed the palace to register their grievances but they were kicked out by the security guards.
When contacted on the telephone, the Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said he was unaware of the fracas but promised to find out and provide information as soon as possible.
Attempts to speak with Oba Lawal’s lawyer, Ayorinde, also proved abortive as the senior advocate did not respond to calls.
A representative of the children of the late monarch, Demola Oniru, also did not respond to calls while a text message had not yet been responded to as of 10.50am.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had on June 7, 2020, installed Oba Lawal as Oniru amid protests from prominent members of the royal family.
The Oniru monarchy is one of the wealthiest in the South-West with massive investments in real estate worth billions of naira.
The monarchy also owns British International School, Lekki, one of the most expensive academic institutions in the state.
Meanwhile, the Oniru of Iruland, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, says he has suspended the palace official who was caught on camera fighting with Tijani Oniru, one of the sons of the immediate past Oniru.
Oba Lawal, however, said in a statement by his media office that reports have it that it was Tijani’s men that first attacked his palace officials before they retaliated.
The statement read in part, “On Sunday, July 5, 2020, a rather regrettable incident occurred within the Oniru Estate Neighbourhood (close to Millennium Estate gate) which culminated in an altercation between some officials of Oniru’s palace and a group led by Prince Tijani Oniru.
“A team of palace officials led by Prince Murisiku Ajasa were allegedly accosted by Prince Tijani Oniru and some other persons. The palace officials were on a routine inspection to supervise the work being done by an inventory and enumeration group.
“In the ensuing heated argument, it was alleged that Prince Tijani Oniru slapped the leader of the palace officials who was also alleged to have retaliated. Fortunately, the police quickly intervened to prevent further escalation.”
Oba Lawal said he had ordered an investigation into the incident and the conduct of the palace officials.
He said he would not tolerate or condone any acts of violence, lawlessness and recourse to self-help.
The statement added, “Notwithstanding the provocative affront to the authority of the Oniru and desecration tradition, the Oniru warned palace officials to remain emotionally stable in the discharge of their duties even in the face of provocation. In addition, he sees no reason or excuse for violence in Iruland.
“Consequently, kabiyesi has directed the palace administrator to immediately suspend the official involved in the incident pending full investigation. His majesty enjoins all parties to desist from all forms of violence and uphold peace, law and order.”