Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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Magodo Estate: Lagos to prosecute land grabbers

The Lagos State government has announced that it will investigate all those responsible for the recent invasion of Magodo Phase II Estate with a view to prosecuting those found culpable.

In a statement on Thursday, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, called on the residents of the estate and members of the public to maintain the peace.

He said the government was concerned that the landowners, under the Shangisha Landlord Association led by one Chief Adebayo Adeyiga, misled the Nigeria Police in an attempt to execute a judgment of the Supreme Court, notwithstanding the pending appeal against the issuance of warrant of possession by the then Chief Judge of Lagos State on March 16, 2017.

Onigbanjo insisted that the judgment of the Supreme Court was not in respect of declaration of title and the Supreme Court did not in any way grant title to land to the judgment creditors.

He maintained that the judgment creditors had no claim for possession, and none was granted as no survey plan was tendered before the court.

The AG also said that the judgment was not affixed to any land anywhere and only declared that the judgment creditors were entitled to allocation of land from the state government.

“Several attempts by the state government to resolve the matter amicably have been on even before the judgment of the Supreme Court was delivered,” he stated. “It is, therefore, not surprising that the Supreme Court held on page 27 of the judgment thus; ‘this court appreciates the magnanimity of the Lagos State government in the proposals to effect an amicable settlement of this matter. The ball is now in the court of the counsel to the respondents who has a statutory duty to advise them properly to give the government their maximum co-operation in the execution of this judgment.

“The state government engaged the judgment creditors between 2012 – 2015 and made a proposal to re-allocate land to the judgment creditors at Magodo Residential Scheme within Badagry area which was rejected by Chief Adebayo Adeyiga, but a majority of the judgment creditors led by Yemi Ogunshola, Jelili Yaya and Adeleke Adefala accepted the offer.

“Due to division within the judgment creditors, another round of settlement was initiated in 2016 which culminated in the proposal to re-allocate the judgment creditors to Ibeju Lekki Coastal Scheme situate at Ibeju/Lekki, which was also rejected by Chief Adebayo Adeyiga.”

Subsequent to the rejection, Onigbanjo explained that the state government got engaged in dialogue with the majority of the judgment creditors from 2019 with a view to reaching a concession towards implementing the judgment.

He added that the judgment only related to the allocation of 549 plots of land and not the possession of any land.

“The Lagos State government has equally observed that the execution was carried out by unknown bailiffs as the sheriff of the High Court of Lagos where the judgment emanated was not responsible for the purported execution carried out on the 21st December 2021 at Magodo.

“The purported execution is therefore contrary to Order 8 Rule 17 of the Supreme Court Rules 2014 and Section 37 of the Enforcement of Judgment and Orders Part III of the Sherriff and Civil Process Act, LFN, 2004.”

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