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Firm seeks N10.5m damages over alleged trespass


A Lagos High Court has adjourned till October 2, for report of settlement in a land dispute between a firm, Ceecy Nigeria Ltd, and the Lagos State Government following a dispute over land.

Justice Grace Onyeabo fixed the date after the parties informed the court that settlement talks were ongoing.In the suit, marked LD/414LMW/2015, Ceecy Nigeria Ltd asked the court to restrain the Lagos State Government and two of its agencies from encroaching on 5.299 hectares of land on Olubunml Okogie Road (formerly Monastery Road), Sangotedo, Lagos.It is also seeking N10.5million as special damages for alleged trespass by the defendants.

The first to third defendants are: the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Executive Secretary Lands Use Allocation Committee and the New Towns Development Authority.The firm, in its March 18, 2015 statement of claim, averred that it was issued “a valid and subsisting” Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for the land by the government on August 29, 1996.It said it was in “peaceable and uninterrupted possession” for 18 years, during which it built a farm house and planted economic trees including palm, hybrid cashew, orange and mango.

The firm averred that the New Towns Development Authority, “without lawful authority” encroached, destroyed the farm house and economic trees, and began developing a housing estate on the land, which caused it to suffer special damages.

But the defendants, in their November 20, 2015 statement of the defence, described the suit as “incompetent, frivolous and an abuse of court process” that should be “dismissed with substantial costs.” 

They averred that the C of O for land falling under Survey Plan No LS/D/LA 850 in the Lekki Peninsula Sub region, including the defendant’s, was revoked in 2005 on the grounds of over-riding public interest, non-payment of ground rents and non-payment of land charges by former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

They averred that the state government is developing a public housing project known as the Kings Court Mixed Development Scheme under the Lagos HOMS project in conjunction with the Lagos State New Towns Development Authority. According to the defendants, the claimants also allegedly failed to develop the land in dispute within a period of two years from the issuance of the said C of O in 1996, following which “the Notice of Revocation was served personally on the claimant.”

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