A Lesson In Ejecting Squatters - 06/08/13 11:30 AM
He’s written extensively about his experience while fighting this case since the year 2000, and today, he finally got a positive development in a judgment delivered by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.
Because it is an issue that other Belizeans are forced to go through to keep their own land, he asked to share his story with the nation, hoping that it will inspire them not to suffer injustice in silence.
Here’s how he explained it:
Olatunji Balogun - Concerned Land Owner
"Today there was a decision made in a trespassing case I took out. There were some people that were living illegally on my land and I took them to the supreme court and they made a decision today that they are trespassing on my land and they awarded me for $1000 and $5000 in cost. The significance of this is that I have been dealing with this situation almost around the year 2000 when I became aware that these people were on my land. Their land was next to mine and when they built their house, because the stone was missing - I mistakenly thought that they built their house on their land not knowing it was on my land. But in the year 2000 the Government of Belize purchased a portion of my land for a water system in the village. When they purchased it those people began to claim that area where the water pump was and that's when I began to realize that I needed to get the proper information as to where the boundary was. I realized that there house was actually built on my land - now not only did they build their house on my land but they sold two pieces of my land to other people without my permission."
"You got into an altercation with them which led to you being charged."
"Thrown in jail for a weekend and being charged for aggravated assault and wounding and I was convicted in the San Ignacio Magistrate court and fined $625 which I was required to pay forthwith just for standing up and shoved this guy and told him to get off my land. But today what the court did is to prove that it was on my land and I'm awaiting an appeal on that same case where I was convicted."
"So it has taken more than ten years for this issue to be resolved - do you feel that it was worth the time and the financial expenses behind it?"
"The time and the expenses was really a heavy burden, I'm really happy. I want to thank so many people who have been supportive. I don't even know how I could have kept my sanity if I did not get the type of wonderful support from so many people. It was a heavy burden and I don't wish it on someone. I was told 'go to school, get an education and become somebody'. Once I got an education it would have helped me to get a job, once I got a job it will put me in a position that I will be able to acquire some property and own a home, right? I went through that process and I bought my land and they told me and gave me a certificate that this is my land. Other people came into my land without any documents and I ended up going to jail and when people heard my story and they came to me with their story, I realized that as bad as my story was - it was light compare to the suffering that people are going through in this country for their own land and their rights to their own land. So it's very important that we begin to realize and it's very good to know that some type of justice was done in a time of injustice."
Balogun has finished his nineteenth book on his struggle called, “A Victim Of My Own Wealth”.