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Family battles Lagos government over housing project

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LEGAL battle over the soul of a large expanse of land located at Bameke Shasha in Alimosho Local Government, measuring 4.882 hectares and covered by a survey plan No. LAT/437/L77 will resume on July 8, 2019 at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja. In the suit filed before Justice Oyindamola Ogala, the claimants, the Akinlowo Olaife family in Shasha area of Lagos, claimed that the land in dispute formed part of a vast track of land belonging to their ancestors.

They alleged that their ancestral land was taken over by the Lagos State government without compensation and concessioning to a private developer for a housing project.

Listed as respondents in the suit are Lagos State government, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice , the State, Ministry of Housing, Chief Executive Officers of the company handling the building project, Toobi Project Limited, Abiodun Rufai and Abiodun Jagunna.

In the suit, six members of the family, Chief Tajudeen Odubiyi, Karamot Ahmed, Abibat Ahmed, Kudirat Ahmed, Sule Ahmed and Kazeem Bankole, claimed that the 4.882 hectares of land was initially encroached upon by one Alhaji Salami Tijani, using a fake memorandum of land sale purportedly issued by their late father and three other members of the family in 1976.

Subsequently, the family members amongst other reliefs are asking for N1billion as damages for trespass, an order possessing the land including all the 18 block of flats constructed on the land and an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the defendants from trespassing on the land.

However, the Lagos State Government had in a joint statement of defence filed through the Attorney General and the Ministry of Housing, claimed that the disputed land was acquired through a Global Acquisition dated July 1976.

The State in its defence submitted that when the disputed land was acquired, the customary land owners, the Akinlowo Olaife family could not be reached and that the notice of acquisition was pasted on a conspicuous object on the land.They further claimed that the disputed land was subsequently allocated to the Ministry of Housing in 2009 for the development of a 108-housing unit under a public private partnership.
 
Also, the alter ego of the company, Rufai  and Jagunna in their joint defence  dismissed the allegation that their company Toobi Projects Ltd was not registered with the CAC.

But in their reply to the statement of defence, the Akinlowo Olaife family refuted government’s claim stating that the said Global Acquisition covered the entire land west of Muritala Mohammed Airport and not particularly the disputed land.

They claimed that the erstwhile government of Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola released their land to them in recognition of the plight of original owners of land West of Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and no compensation was paid to them for the alleged acquisition of the land.

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