Memories

Chief Yesufu with 2 of his sons

 

Prince Taiwo Abila OniruChief Ogunlana Obanikoro and Mrs Brodie Mends with Baba

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Chief Yesufu Abiodun OniruChief Yesufu Abiodun was born during the reign of Oba Dosunmu of Lagos (1853-1885) at a time his own great grandfather; Chief Akiogun was the head of the Oniru settlement and the tenth Oniru of Lagos. His lineage from Chief Akiogun is as follows:

 Akiogun married Fabi Aromire who hailed from another prominent land-owning family of Lagos Island, the Aromire family.

 Akiogun begat Sagbanla by Fabi Aromire

 Sagbanla begat Opeseyi

 Opeseyi begat Yesufu Abiodun through Madam Isiyemi who was a descendant of the Akinsemoyin Royal Family of Lagos

 Thus Yesufu shared a kinship with Aromire Chieftaincy family and the Akinsemoyin royal house both of Lagos Island. Indeed there is credible evidence that the descendants of the original settlers of Lagos Island maintained a strong kindred relationship. Besides the fact that their fathers descended from a common progenitor, Olofin, who was from Ile-Ife, they also inter married thus further promoting the ties. These strong kindred ties are acknowledged in the oriki.

 Chief Yesufu Abiodun Oniru was 120 years old when he died in 1984. He was indeed a fighter and a very unique person. 

He was highly enlightened and fought for what he believed in.

Long before he became the Oniru and Head of the Oniru Chieftaincy family, Chief Yesufu Abiodun knew that the government’s acquisition of private lands would continue in view of the rapid growth of Lagos as an administrative and commercial centre. He was therefore prepared to confront the authorities for due compensation on the previously acquired lands.

Over the years, Yesufu Abiodun Oniru and the family employed some of the best lawyers in the country to fight their case. Among them were Egerton Shyngle, Jubril Martins, Peter Thomas, O.O Oluwole, Bode Thomas, H.O. Davies, Rotimi Williams, Obafemi Awolowo, Abayomi Shogbesan and G.O.K. Ajayi. With these giant legal luminaries, the Oniru family had their case well pleaded at the courts. The battle was fought from the lowest magistrate courts to the highest in the land, then known as the West African Court of Appeal (WACA), from there to the Privy Council which was the pinnacle of justice in the British Empire.

Chief Yesufu Abiodun went to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom to appeal a ruling made by the WACA.

WACA had ruled that the government pay the Oniru £52,000 (Fifty Two Thousand Pounds), a figure that the Oniru thought to be too low considering he had spent a lot more than this amount on the court case.

Unfortunately, the figure he thought was low was reduced to £32,000 by the Privy Council. However, the Nigerian government was ordered to allocate 100acres of the developed land to the Oniru Family. The Nigerian government failed to comply and retained all the Sand-filled area of Victoria Island.

Although he was disappointed, Chief Yesufu Abiodun had established through the long drawn case that the Oniru Family owned Victoria Island and the government would have to negotiate with the family before acquiring any part of the land.