Justice Kazeem Alogba of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has restrained one Bamidele Jemiyo, the claimant in a land suit, from trespassing on the property along the Lagos-Epe Expressway, close to Chevron Headquarters, Ibeju Lekki.
Justice Alogba declared the defendants, Mr. Atiku Abogun and Chief Semiu Abogun, as the persons entitled to the right of occupancy of the disputed two plots of land measuring approximately 1385.629 square metres.
He held that the defendants, through their counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, proved their case beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge said the claimant through her counsel, Mr. I. Takuro, failed to prove that she was the rightful owner of the land.
Jemiyo instituted the case in July 2007 seeking a declaration that she was entitled to the right of occupancy to the two plots.
Among other reliefs, she sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, either by themselves, their servants or agents from trespassing or further trespassing on the disputed land.
During trial, the claimant testified for herself and laid claim to ownership of the land delineated in Survey Plan No ISO/LA/42B.83 of November 18, 1983.
The land originally belonged to Justice Anthony Aina Michael Ekundayo and Mrs. Margaret Modupe Ekundayo by virtue of a Deed of Assignment of March 21, 1992 and executed in their favour by the accredited representatives of the Ojomu Chieftaincy Family of Ajiran.
She testified that the said family had from time immemorial been in exclusive possession and control as owners of the said land and had “exercised maximum act of ownership without let or hindrance from anyone in respect of the entire area at Igbo Efon in the Etiosa Local Government Area of Lagos State, which titled had been confirmed by several judgments and the Lagos Offical Gazette No. 24 Vol. 27 date June 23, 1994.”
The claimant said upon purchase of the two plots, she was issued a Purchase Receipt of May 22, 1995 by Justice and Mrs. Ekundayo.
According to her, she took possession of the land, erected a fence round it with two big gates and remained in undisturbed possession until sometimes in 2005 when the 1st defendant, Atiku Abogun encroached on the land which she reported to the second defendant, Chief Semiu Abogun, who was the village head of the area then.
The claimant averred that the second defendant perused her title documents, confirmed same but still requested that she paid the first defendant some money to allow peace to reign. She added that she also paid another N100,000 to the Land Administrator of the Ojomu Family.
Atiku stated that neither the claimant nor her predecessors in title had ever exercised any right of ownership or been in possession of the land.
The defendant also explained that he never broke into or destroyed any fence or gate on any land of the claimant.
Atiku also debunked the sale of any land in Igbo Efon to the claimant or her vendors, as well as any title of the Ojomu Chieftaincy Family over any land in igbo-Efon as the family had no land there.
But Justice Alogba in his judgment said the claimant failed to prove that the defendants were customary tenants of Igbo-Efon land or that same was owned by the Ojomu Chieftaincy Family.
The judge said he observed that none of the exhibits tendered by the claimant showed that the land in dispute and being claimed by her was purchased from the Ojomu Cheftaincy Family as she could not show any grant from the Ojomu chieftaincy Family or one to her vendors.
“Having failed to prove her root of title, the identity of the land she’s claming, the claimant failed to prove any entitlement to the declaration of title she sought in the case.
“Her claims for perpetual injunction and damages must also crumble being consequential reliefs that can only be granted if her claim for declaration of the title succeeded.
“All the clams of the claimant are hereby dismissed in their entirety for lack of proof as required by law,” the judge held.
18 April, 2017