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Court awards Lagos property to deceased woman

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Lagos High Court, Ikeja. Photo/Channelstv

The Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has held that a property on 12 and 14 Ondo Street, Oworonshoki, belongs to the late Madam Abike Ajayi.

The late Ajayi and her tenant Rev Johnson Ade-Olabode filed the suit in 1995 against the late Madam Moyamo Akinfolarin and one Mr. Cornelius.

Following the death of Madam Ajayi and Madam Akinfolarin, Mrs Folayemi Oyebode and Dr Olu Ogunye substituted for the deceased persons as first claimant and first defendant respectively.

The claimants, through their lead counsel Mr. John Dare Oloyede, sought a declaration that the defendants could not eject them from the property.

They sought N1million damages against the defendants for trespass, as well as an order of injunction restraining the defendants from disturbing the claimants’ possession of the property and from arresting or detaining them.

The first claimant told the court that she had been in undisturbed possession of the property since she purchased it in 1978 from the Akinsode Miyaki family.

The claimants said the defendants attempted to forcefully eject them from the property several times and even “physically brutalised them”, to the extent of issuing Ade-Olabode a quit notice when they had no right to do so.

But, the defendants insisted that the property belonged to them and that the claimants purchase receipt was procured by fraud.

In her verdict, Justice Oyebanji held that the claimants provided enough evidence to convince her that the first claimant “is the true owner of the property in dispute”.

She said: “From the totality of the pleadings and evidence led by the claimants, particularly the exhibits tendered, the court is satisfied that the first claimant has by production of purchase receipts, act of possession, and acts of ownership extending over a sufficient length of time…proved that she has an equitable interest in the property.

“The defendants have failed to defend this suit or prove their counter-claim.”

The judge, therefore, restrained the defendants from entering, occupying or in any way disturbing the claimants’ possession of the property.

Justice Oyebanji granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants or their agents from arresting, detaining or harassing the claimants over the property.

The 24-year old case began before Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour (now of the Supreme Court) and passed through Justices Raliat Adebiyi and Owolabi Dabiri.

It started de novo before Justice Oyebanji, who delivered the judgment on June 7.

Justice Oyebanji reminded the survivors of the vanity of fighting over material possessions.

The judge said: “The parties in this suit are enjoined to eschew bitterness in realisation of the fact that the main gladiators – Madam Ajayi and Madam Akinfolarin – have since been dead and buried and left this earth without taking any of their possessions with them.


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