By Kingsley Adegboye
DISTURBED by the silence of Lagos state government to obey the directive of the Nigerian Judicial Council, which ordered Chief Justice of the state to allow Shangisha Landlord Association, SLA, possess the 549 plots of land at Magodo Scheme 2 following the Supreme Court judgement, the Association has called on the state government to respect the judgement by allowing them to possess their plots.
The Association’s demand was sequel to the writ of possession of March 16, 2017, that emanated from the Supreme Court judgment which ordered that the landlords be given 549 plots of land at the site, but which the government allegedly is preventing Justice Atilade to sign, five years after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the association over the matter.
In a statement signed by the association’s chairman, Chief Adebayo Adeyiga, the group, while urging Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to act on the matter accordingly, however, accused some officials of either feeding him with falsehood, or just exhibiting deliberate and flagrant disobedience to the Supreme Court Judgment.
Illegal occupants and trespassers
According to Adeyiga, the association noted that the government, instead of obeying the Supreme Court judgment, is suggesting allocation of alternative land which does not seem to be reasonable and contrary to the judgment of the lower, appeal and Supreme courts in their favour.
“How can Lagos State government suggest that the Judgment creditors (the Shangisha Landlord Association) allow the benefactors who are considered illegal occupants and trespassers by the SCN judgment’s interpretations to remain on the adjudged land, when we, who are bonafide owners are being advised to vacate the land for another alternative land, which we believed would lead to another round of controversy and perhaps, litigation by the original owners of the contemplated alternative land that might be deceptively collected from them in the name of ‘overriding public interest?
“Our association, believes that in the alternative, the only way out is for the judgment debtors and their agent/privies, the Magodo Residents Association MRA, to reach out to us, the Landlord Association of Shangisha/Magodo, to enable them ractify their title with us, we, the judgment creditors. This will enable the Magodo Resident Association MRA, to ractify their title, or in the alternative, to concede all the yet to be occupied parcels of land and landed properties to meet the judgment of 549 plots, ordered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria”, he said.
The statement further noted that the issue has been dragging since 1988, leading to a case ID/795/88, instituted on June 1988, by the Shangisha Landlord Association, led by Chief Adebayo Adeyiga and six others, who were authorised by an order of the trial made by Hon. Justice W.A. Oshodi, for the said chairman and 16 other members to do their case in representative capacity on behalf of all other members.
According to the statement, on October 19, 1992, the trial court granted an interlocutory injunction under late Justice A.L. Balogun, restraining the Lagos state government, their servants, privies and now the judgment debtors, Magodo Residents Association, from doing anything on the said land pending final determination of the case.
“However, contrary to the court order, Lagos state government continues to sell, allocate and carry out various activities on the land, which explains and facilitates the presence of the MRA members.
“On December 31, 1993, Justice A.L Balogun ruled to the effect that Shangisha Landlord Association should be allocated 549 plots in Shangisha/Magodo Scheme2, and the allocation should be on ‘first choice of preferential allocation’, if possible, the original plots of each member be given to him.
“This made the Judgment creditors to be entitled to 549 plots of land at the Shangisha viallage, now known as Magodo Scheme2”.
The statement said however, another twist was introduced, when on March 16, 1994, Justice Rosaline Omotosho gave an order barring all the parties from doing anything on the land. She declared all allocations and the certificate of occupancy C of O, issued as illegal, null and void, and she equally barred Lagos State government from issuing further instruments in respect of all lands at Magodo scheme 2, when she expressed her displeasure over what she described as “wanton disobedience of rule of law” by the Lagos State government, civil servants and other officials of the state who were connected with the issue.
It further stated that on October 9, 1999, Justice Akinola Aguda, at his Tribunal sitting, on visiting Magodo, accompanied by land officials, officials from Justice Ministry and members of Shangisha Landlord Association in attendance, warned the developers at the site including the Ikosi GRA, to stop development until the matter would be disposed off at the Appellate Court.
“The case was dragged to the Supreme Court, where the Association was also granted the judgment to take possession of the 549 plots, as earlier ruled by Lower and the Appeal Courts.
“Unfortunately, despite the Supreme Court judgment, succeeding Attorney-Generals and Solicitor Generals that include Mr. Ade Ipaye and Mr. Lawal Pedro, were unable to execute the judgment before Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, whom we believe will give us redress assumed office. On June 2, 2016, the Lagos Attorney General, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, invited us to a meeting where we gave him memorandum for settlement, which nothing has been done till date, and they are doing all they can do to frustrate the writ of possession ordered by the CJN, for execution, which the state’s Attorney General is yet to comply with”, the Association pointed out.