By Olasunkanmi Akoni
RESIDENTS and occupants on the 400 acres of Abiola Farms in Ayobo, owned by late business mogul, Moshood Olawale Abiola, have called for the immediate intervention of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and the Commissioner of Police following invasion of their community by scores of hoodlums allegedly sponsored by a warring party in the Abiola’s family.
The residents have expressed fears of possible attack from a warring party in the Abiola family.
A fresh crisis ensued in MKO Abiola’s family following a legal battle on the authentic owner of the land in Ayobo area of the state between Radio Communication Nigeria, RCN, Limited and some sections within the family.
The land under dispute is located at Igbo Ilogbo, Ayobo, Ipaja-Ayobo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, where thousands of residents reside.
Earlier, some members of the late Abiola’s family, in an attempt to enforce a court judgment of March 14, 2019, that confers ownership of the land in dispute on MKO Abiola, directed all tenants to come forward for regularisation of their titles or risk ejection.
However, the Chairman of RCN and son of late MKO, Kola Abiola, reacting to the development, described the claim by a section of the family as “a fraudulent exercise being perpetrated by the invaders.”
Speaking on behalf of the residents at a stakeholders’ meeting, the solicitor, Tunji Adeyemi said: “Kola Abiola, Chairman RCM, has given his side of the story and this is our side of the story.
“On the morning of March 14, 2019, some agents, acting for yet-to-be-identified persons in Igbo-Ilogbo, Ayobo, issued a threat that they have gotten a court judgment and moved in to forcefully take over the possession of the land belonging to RCM, the only legal owner of the land in dispute.
“About four Sheriffs of High Court of Lagos State and policemen and over a thousand thugs invaded Abiola Farms’ estate consisting of many communities.
”The Estates also have seven Community Development Associations, CDAs and over 500 households. They broke into peoples’ houses riding on bikes, preventing our children from going to school and traumatised the entire community.
Giving the background to the development, he recalled that there was a High Court judgment obtained in the suit no: 11D155 1986 in favour of NRC and that the judgment was appealed. Another judgment was given in appeal no: CA/L/199/1994; these two judgments were in favour of NRC. Since 2002, NRC has taken possession of the land. At a point, the Lagos State Government took over the land and they went to court; they got the judgment and Lagos State Government returned the disputed land to NRC while they have sold a larger portion to others, who have built houses on them.
“All of a sudden, some people got the same judgment at the High Court which was against the people who got the land from NRC.”
Speaking further, he said: “We are ready to defend our legal and human rights from any group or groups of person who may want to intimidate us, hence, the need for the immediate intervention by the governor and CP, Subairu Muazu. They must nip this in the bud to prevent it from degenerating into a community clash and possible loss of lives and properties.”
The lawyer, however, presented a petition and an affidavit by the RCM Chairman.
On his part, the counsel to the other faction of the family, Victor Olawale, said: “The law says before anyone pays for a piece of land, there is need to survey the land to ensure the land has not been bought by someone else.”
He argued that the illegal occupiers of Chief MKO Abiola Farms needed to survey the land before making payments for plots there.
Also, in the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja, Suit No: ID/155/1986 with an affidavit in support stated: Mr. Kola Abiola, Male and Nigerian Citizen states on oath as follows: “That I am the chairman of the Board of Directors of the applicant herein. That I know the facts of this case by virtue of my position: That I have the authority of the applicant to depose to this affidavit.
“That I know as a matter of facts and by virtue of my position that there was no board meeting and the resolution taken to reveal date the judgment of the Honourable Court which at all material times is in favour of the Applicant.
“That there was no time the Applicant through the Board of Directors or any of the Directors appointed and or employed the services of Olufemi I. Falana Esq and Chidinma Nwosu Esq parties sought to be joined, to prosecute and or revalidate the judgment in this suit which as stated in the above paragraphs.”
The other parties in the family had said they were willing to compensate people who had wrongly bought the land from the wrong people with evidence on the judgment concerns showing delineated survey plan, No. RA/144 dated 25th March 1977, and covered by the Deed of Conveyance dated March 28, 1977, and registered as No. 24 in Volume 1620 of the Land Registry, Lagos.