The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has denied the claim in a video and voice note circulating on social media, that he was involved in the sale of a land that has caused a dispute between the Idosun community and Dangote refinery, in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State.
A particular voice note and video had surfaced on social media over the weekend, in which an unnamed member of the community alleged that Oba Ogunwusi conspired with Dangote refinery to cut down a tree where the people of the community hold their traditional worship.
But a statement issued on Monday by the Palace’s Director of Media and Publicity, Moses Olafare, said that the monarch never participated in the sale of the land and destruction of the place of worship on it.
Olafare said the monarch only heard of the issue when the case was brought to him by the Dangote refinery.
“I am sure the person that made the video and voice note knows the truth but wanted to tarnish the image of the king since they cannot resolve the issue they had with Dangote on the said land,” he said.
Olafare explained that it was 15 communities that sold the land to Dangote over a decade ago, but the affected community, Idosun, had a rift with Dangote refinery on a particular section of the land where they had a tree where they worship.
According to him, the community pleaded with Dangote to leave the side of the land where they had the tree for easy access during worship, but the company refused and insisted that they must cut the tree because it is lying within their premises.
The Palace spokesperson added that the matter was brought to Ooni after many kings around Epe and Ibeju-Lekki had intervened but couldn’t resolve the issue.
“He tried to resolve the matter amicably but the community refused that the land must be exempted while Dangote refinery insisted the section remains part of its land.
“The Ooni even explained to the community representatives at the meeting that under the law, Dangote is right since he bought the land many years ago but the only way is to shift the place to another part of their land through some atonement but the community still refused. And as they couldn’t resolve the issues, Dangote went ahead and cut the tree,” Olafare added.