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Court revokes illegal sales of Lagos land to WAEC

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
17 February 2020   |   4:05 am
The controversial land suit involving West African Examination Council (WAEC) and others before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has been decided...

The controversial land suit involving West African Examination Council (WAEC) and others before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has been decided, as the court ordered perpetual injunction, restraining WAEC and others from further trespassing on the disputed land.

Justice Mariam Emeya restrained the defendants and their agents from trespassing on the four plot of land known as Plot 6, Southern Industrial Estate, Agidingbi, Ikeja while delivering judgment on the suit initiated by a businessman, Mr. Kayode Euzebio

The judge revoked the sales of four plots of land illegally sold to WAEC ordered it be returned to the owner.

The claimant in suit number ID/920/2011 filed by his counsel, a senior lawyer, Babatunde Oshilaja had prayed the court to held that there was no negotiation, agreement, sale, alienation or assignment in writing by the claimant on his four plots of land to WAEC (International) nor did his client appoint any person whatsoever in any capacity to carry out any negotiation. The suit was filed against WAEC, Maxi Market Limited, the Attorney General of Lagos State, the Registrar of titles, Lagos State as first to fourth defendants.

Oshilaja had prayed the court restrain the defendants from taking any action on the disputed land pending hearing and final determination of the suit. He also claimed that the 1st and 2nd defendants without claimant consent and against claimant interest wrongfully, illegally occupied his plots of land and have commenced preparation for buildings and construction works on the disputed land.

In their statement of defense,the defendants had prayed the court to strike out the suit for being an abuse of court process. The defendant had maintained that prior to the execution of terms of settlement, the claimant and first defendant allegedly agreed that the interest of the claimant be reduced to monetary value and that the claimant be paid of the value of the said land.

Defendants also argued during trial that the I treat of the claimant had been reduced proceeds of sale and that the claimant was no longer in a position to lay claimant the said four plot of land. However, Justice Emeya in her judgement, held that WAEC  without consent of the claimant (Euzebio) and against his interest illegally entered and occupied the land.

The court held that there was no sale of the four plots of land belonging to the claimant for the reason that the order contained in the consent judgement entered into by the first defendant and the claimant was not followed. The court held that in line with the consent judgement the claimant is entitled to the ownership of his four plots of land out of the entire parcel of land known as plot 6 Southern Industrial Estate, Agidingbi. The court held that parties agreed to joint sale of the entire parcel of land on the condition that the sale shall be to the buyer who has demonstrated interest in the property.

Justice Emeya held that the claimant ought to have been issued a bank draft in his name directly and from source, that is the buyer upon the sales of the parcel of land as contained in the consent judgement.

The court held that the N25 million allegedly paid into his bank account was in violation of the consent judgement entered into by the claimant and the first defendant hence there was no valid sale of his four plots of land.

“It is settled that he who alleges must prove the allegation. There is no evidence that the claimant consent was sought, the second defendant did not pay direct to the claimant. I hold that Kofo Coker has no right, there was no instruction from the claimant to represent him.

“It is settled that if any parties enter an agreement, it bound on all parties. The agreement between the parties in the suit is the consent judgment. Judgement of the court is the end of every litigation and the judgement is to put an end to litigation.”

She cited plethora of authorities among which is Section 128 of the Evidence Act. “It is the contention of the claimant that pursuant to terms of a settlement dated October 27, 2008 in respect of a parcel of land known as Plot 6, Southern Industrial Estate, Agidingbi Ikeja, Lagos, parties in the suit agreed to a joint sale of the disputed land. By the consent judgment of Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson, the first defendant (Maxi Market limited) was said obliged to jointly with Euzebio carry out the sales the sales of the land.”

Meanwhile, the first defendant sold the land to West African Examination Council (WAEC) International and against the terms of judgment posted the sum of N25 million into Euzebio’s account without his consent. Consequently, the claimant prayed the court to stop Lagos state government from either granting statutorily consent under the Land Use Act to WAEC (International) or Maxi Market for the purported alienation of the claimant’s four plots of land.