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Court orders take over of ACB building in Lagos

By Bertram Nwannekanma
24 January 2022   |   4:15 am
The Tinubu Magistrate Court, Lagos has ordered the take over of the entire 12-storey building known as African Continental Bank (ACB) Building, with its appurtenances, situated at 106/108, Broad Street, Lagos.

ACB Building at 106/108, Broad Street, Lagos

The Tinubu Magistrate Court, Lagos has ordered the take over of the entire 12-storey building known as African Continental Bank (ACB) Building, with its appurtenances, situated at 106/108, Broad Street, Lagos.

The action followed the judgment delivered on December 14, 2021 by Chief Magistrate Adedamola Paul sitting in Tinubu Magistrate Court, Lagos

In the judgment, the chief magistrate had ruled that the Consolidated Discount Limited is the bonafide owner of the entire building known as African Continental Bank (ACB) Building with its appurtenances, known as No. 106/108, Broad Street, Lagos Island, Lagos State.

The court had said at the close of the claimant’s case that the matter was specifically adjourned for cross-examination and defence.

“However, the defendants still remained absent and without legal representation. The case for the claimant was so deemed unchallenged and closed in the circumstance.

“As it is, I am strongly convinced that the claimant’s Attorney has adduced cogent, convincing and sufficient evidence to hold that the property in its aforesaid deplorable state is indeed in dire need of outright substantial, compellable repairs and I believe it is justifiable to so declare in the prevailing circumstance.

“Basically, considering the alarming rampancy of incidence of collapsed buildings and the accompanying avoidable human fatalities, a court faced with a case of these ominous and precarious characteristics certainly has a fundamental judicial responsibility to use its vantage position and the law as proactive instruments of social engineering.

“In furtherance thereof, I am convinced that this is one of such rare crucial circumstances where this court can firmly stand proactively and justifiably invoke the provisions of section 45 (l)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the overwhelming interest of public safety.

“Significantly, upon the overwhelming uncontradicted evidence of the claimant’s Attorney and satisfactory proofs of service of all the pre-requisite statutory processes on the defendants, I am reasonably convinced that the claimant has sufficiently proved its case against the defendants to deserve judgment relatively as claimed,” the magistrate held.

The court therefore ordered that the defendants shall all vacate and relinquish to the claimant, the possession of the entire building known as African Continental Bank (ACB) building, herein in issue with its appurtenances, situate at No. 106/108, Broad Street, Lagos Island, Lagos State forthwith, for exigent abatement of nuisance and outright protective restoration purposes.

The court further held that, “In the event that the defendants refuse and or fail to vacate and relinquish possession as adjudged, the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court of Lagos State is thereupon authorised and directed to enter the said premises and enforce possession, and further, shall take inventory and custody of any movable valuable found therein.

“In the alternative, the Head of the Enforcement Unit, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA) or any such other applicable Statutory state authority is directed to take all such reasonably necessary measures to ensure and or enforce immediate evacuation of the defendants from the said premises,” the court ruled.