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Respite for Surulere Residents as Court Sets Aside Enforcement of Judgment Over Possession of Large Expanse of Land

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It was a welcome respite for some residents of the Ikate, Surulere area of Lagos state, as a court has set aside the enforcement of a 48-year-old judgment, ordering the possession of their houses and properties, situated on a large expanse of land.

Property owners and residents were excited, when Justice A. M. Lawal of a Lagos High Court, on May 25, 2023, set aside the judgment of Justice Olusan Bada, in Suit No: 18/118/68 of the Lagos State High Court on November 20, 1975.

The court also awarded cost against the purported Judgment Creditors in the sum of N300,000.

The suit was between Kasali Idewu And Ors V Ayisatu Yaya and Ors, declaring the ownership of the entire land measuring 315.9 acres in Ikate, Surulere, as captured by Survey Plan No: Agw/263 to the Defendants/Judgment Creditors.

On March 2, 2022, a High Court had also granted leave to enforce the judgment of Bada.

Armed with these rulings and the affirmation by Hon. Justice M.A Lawal, sitting at the Ikeja Judicial Division of the High Court on December 9, 2022, representatives of the landowners, accompanied by policemen, had stormed the area on March 30, 2023, marked and pasted notices as well as painted “possession was taken in Suit No. Suit No. IKD/118/1968” on the walls of about 2500 houses and properties.

The notice had advised those affected “to deal” with Oba Lateef Atanda Adams, the Onikate of Ikate, on specified telephone numbers.

Grassroots Today, in a previous report, had reported that affected streets include Adelabu, Bola Shadipe, Godwin Okigbo, Ilorin and Nnobi, Alhaji Danmole, Olufemi, Olukole, Adegoke, Okolawon Ajayi, Odelola, Adeniyi Adefioye, Ilesanmi, Shofidiya and Badaru.

The property owners, who were caught unawares, claimed they had no knowledge of the court proceedings and took their grievances to the state government.

Their outcry caught the attention of the government and Mrs. Grace Alo, public affairs officer of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, then issued a statement, stating that the Attorney General, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), assured that the matter would be investigated and that their rights will be well protected.

Onigbanjo was said to have initiated legal action on behalf of the residents, an action, which has favoured them for now.

Giving details of the suit, Alo, in a statement issued on May 26, 2023, revealed that Onigbanjo, after receiving petitions and complaints from affected residents, “caused a search to be conducted on the Court’s file, which revealed several irregularities and anomalies on the part of the purported Judgment Creditors.

“The Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, on behalf of affected residents, therefore filed an application asking the Honourable Court to set aside the enforcement of the judgment on the ground that it was obtained by fraud and concealment of facts.

“The application was argued personally by the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice on the 12th of May, 2023, she said.

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