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Family makes acquisition claim against Lagos over property




EIGHTEEN children of late Chief Robert Bomah Onyeboliseh who died intestate have sued Lagos State Government and an oil firm, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc at the Lagos High Court over choiced Lagos Island property.

In a statement of claim, the children, led by Mrs Alaba Ogbe stated that their father during his lifetime owns many properties in Lagos and in other places and that at the time of the death of their father it was not all the properties belonging to their deceased father that was known to all the children.

They claimed that the 1st defendant (MRS) who is a trespasser on the property at No. 8 Macarthy Street Lagos, has refused, failed and neglected to hand over possession of the said property despite their repeated demands.

Apart from the 1st defendants, other defendants in the suit are Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, Lagos state Government and Attorney General of Lagos State.

“The claimants aver that their father, Late Chief Roberts Bomah Onyebolise exercised his ownership right on the said property unchallenged, during his life time. The claimants aver that upon a further search, it was discovered that the defendant herein is in possession of the said property without authorisation”, they stated.

As a result, the claimants are seeking for a declaration that the being the surviving children and the lawful beneficiaries of the estate of late Onyebolise are the persons entitled to the ownership and right of occupancy of the property.
They also want the court to declare that they have not transferred any of those rights of ownership or possession to the defendant or indeed any other person as well as an order for them to give up possession.

However, in its statement of defence, the 1st defendant, contends that the claimants have no locus standi to institute action as they are not the administrators of the estate of Chief Robert Bomah Onyebolise (deceased) whose alleged interest in the property in dispute they are seeking to enforce.

The oil firm claimed that they are occupying the property as a tenant or lessee of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (2nd defendants) which is the owner of the said property.

“The 1st defendant therefore states that the claimants have sued the wrong party in this action, since the 1st defendant is not the owner of the property which is the subject-matter of this suit”, it stated, urging the court to strike out or dismiss the suit for lack of merit.

The 2nd defendant also stated that the land which the subject matter of the suit was alongside some other properties acquired by the Lagos State Government in 1976 by virtue of Lagos State Government Notice No. 296, dated Agust 10, 1976.

“The 2nd defendant states further that the Notice of Acquisition was duly served on the occupiers of the affected land while the Notice of Acquisition was pasted on those lands whose occupiers could not be immediately located. In order to ensure that the notice of the said acquisition was properly given to those whose interests are likely to be affected, a general notice of acquisition was also published in the daily national newspaper as well as the State Government Official Gazette No. 50 vol. 9 of 1976”, they claimed, adding that the 1976 acquisition was made in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Public Land Acquisition Law cap. 113.

They argued that the statutory rights of the claimants have been extinguished as they, through their predecessors deliberately ignored the notice of acquisition by failing to put forward any claim in the property, adding that they may only be entitled to payment of compensation.

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