Appeal court defers hearing on 37 year- old Ijora land dispute
By Bertram Nwannekanma
09 March 2020 | 4:00 am
Hearing on the ownership of vast hectares of land spanning to Iganmu, Ijora, Badia, Orile and Coker areas of Lagos has been deferred by the Appeal Court, Lagos.
The hearing could not go on as scheduled because the justices were unavoidably absent last week to attend the valedictory session organised in honour of the retiring Court of Appeal President, Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.
Subsequently, parties are to be communicated on the new date by the court.
Justice Bulkachuwa, on March 6, 2020 retired from the Bench asshe attained the statutory mandatory retirement age of 70 years but a special valedictory court session/reception was held in her honour at the Court of Appeal as part of the programmes lined up for her retirement.
Ownership of the land has been a subject of litigation for over 37 years before the Supreme Court on April 3, 2009 pronounced the Ojora Chieftaincy Family the legitimate owner of the disputed land.
But the dispute arose in the land between Mr. Adeyemi Olusina Savage, Mrs. Roseline Yeside Roberts, Kolawole Akinleye Savage suing as administrators to the Estate of Kolapo Belugbade Savage as claimants in Suit N0 M/5/2009, while Taylor Woodrow Nigeria Limited, Oba Abdul-Fatai Aremu Aromire, Chief Fatai Adio Suleiman, Prince Olayiwola Oluwa and Twinsectra Nigeria limited were listed as Respondents.
However, Justice Wasiu Animahaun of the Lagos High Court, had in his ruling on January 23, 2019 dismissed the appellant’s counter claim filed on June 8, 2017 on the ground that it was an abuse of court process.
Not satisfied with the lower court’s ruling, the Trustees had through their lawyer, Ayoyinka Roberts filed an appeal praying the appellate court to set aside the entire ruling of the lower court.
In the appeal marked CA/LAG/CV/589/2019 and filed through their attorney, Adamakin Investment and Work Limited, the Trustees is also praying the court for an order reinstating to the cause list of the lower court, the counter-claim in the same suit dismissed by the lower court.
They are praying the court for an order for the trial of their counter claim before another court within the same jurisdiction as constituted before the lower court.
In a 12-paragrahs affidavit in support of the appeal and deposed to by one Ayoyinka Roberts, a legal practitioner of Reliance Solicitors, Lagos, the Trustees also prayed the Appellate Court to stay further proceeding on the matter pending the determination of the appeal, stressing that taking further proceeding in the matter will foist a situation of helplessness on the court of appeal and render the appeal nugatory.
They also contended that the lower court erred in law when it held that they are precluded from bringing an action against Oba Abdul-Fatai Aremu Aromire, Chief Fatai Adio Suleiman, Prince Olayiwola Oluwa, (5th to 7th respondents), following the provision of section 16 of the limitation law (Cap L67) Laws of Lagos State by stating that for the 37 years of litigation before competent court of law, forms part of the limitation period against them despite acknowledging that the said litigation ended with the supreme court’s judgment delivered on April 3, 2009.
They further argued that the trial court erred in law when it dismissed their counter claim in its entirety notwithstanding the fact that the appellant has a counter claim against the Adeyemi Olusina Savage, Mrs. Roseline Yeside Roberts, Kolawole Akinleye Savage, the first and third respondents whose parcel of land falls outside the purview of the land owned by the 5th- 7th respondent following the interpretation of the composite plan drawn by the office of the surveyor general and which report was dated January 31, 2018.
But the respondents have argued that the counter claimant’s action was an attempt to reopen the issue litigated upon in the previous suit, which amounted to abuse of court process.
They also anchored the argument on the period of time that litigation in the previous suit took, right from the high court to the supreme court, stressing that the counter claimant and 6th defendant in the suit are caught by the principle of Estoppel by conduct, having not joined the previous suit that lasted 37 years in court, despite having constructive notice of the pendency of the suit.
Meanwhile, Justice Animahaun had before the appeal , granted a consent judgment in which the claimants and the 4th to 6th defendants agreed on some terms and conditions to settle the suit.
Amongst others they agreed on an amicable resolution of issues of title raised in the suit and the claimants also agreed to cede to the 4th to 6th defendants’ family, all that piece or parcel of land situate, lying and being within the premises of No. 10 Abebe Village Road, Iganmu, Lagos State, measuring approximately 4951.350 Square Meters and more particularly delineated and verged RED on Survey Plan drawn in the name of Oba Fatai Aromire.
Also, the family of late Madam Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu has reaffirmed the appointment of Mr. Afolabi Adamakin of Adamakin & Works Limited as the bonafide and only agent given the Power of Attorney over the Estate of the late madam Efunroye Tinubu.
The two branches, the Lumosa Family and Sobowale Family comprising the late Madam Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu Family disclosed this at a joint meeting held last week at Lumosa’s Compound, Oke-Ido Gbagura Abeokuta.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the Secretary General of Madam Efunroye Tinubu Estate, Rev. Adio Bakare said the family unanimously condemned the Power of Attorney given to some other people, which include Lagoon Park Global Resources, Mansfield Real Estate Company, Integrated Service Limited, Mr. Onyebuchi Opara Ugo, Mr, Timothy Ogbonna, Mr. Taiwo Oyewunmi, Mr. Akeem Osuolade (a.k.a) Olowobusobuso, Mr. Temilola Dawud Adesanya and Mr. Ibrahim Mojeed, by members of Trustee.
According to Bakare, the family also condemned the signing by the trustee for Oloto Family that Alaka land does not belong to Madam Efunroye Tinubu Family.