Family battles Ogun, Mikano, others over ‘acquired’ land
Legal fire works are expected to start at the High Court of Ogun State sitting at Otta between the Alimi Ayinde Kasumu family of Lagos and Mikano International Limited, Chavnet Nigeria Limited, Ogun State government and three others over parcels of land situate and lying at Isheri, Ifo local council of Ogun state.
Parties had resorted to trial following failure of peaceful resolution of the dispute during the pre-trial conference held on April 12.In the suit filed before Justice Demola Bakare, the claimants, Habeed Kasumi and Bolaji, Kasumu, who are suing for themselves and on behalf of Alimi Ayinde Kasumu Estate are seeking a declaration that they are owners and therefore entitled to the statutory right of occupancies over 1070 acres of land duly registered vide a Deed of Conveyance dated March 6, 1975 and registered as N022 at page 22 in volume 1692 of the Lands Registry in the office at Ibadan, now kept at Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria.
They also want the court to affirm their statutory right of another 1621 acres of land covered by Deed of indenture dated November 28, 1977 covered by survey plan No: BPO/758C and lying and being at Isheri, Ogun state with the dimensions and abuttals delineated in the Plan Nos BPO/758A and BPO/758C respectively.
The family further want court declaration that the defendants have no claim, interest or estate either at law or in equity or however in respect of the said land as well as a declaration that the third defendant (Attorney General of Ogun State) has no power to issue certificate of occupancy on all or any part of the afore stated land with the dimensions and abuttals delineated in the Plan Nos BPO/758A and BPO/758C respectively.
The court is also urged to issue an order setting aside the various certificates of Occupancy illegally and irregularly issued to the first, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th defendants by the Attorney General of Ogun state (3rd defendant) in respect of the claimants’ 1070 and that of 1621 acres of land lying and being at Isheri, Ogun state.
The claimants further want a perpetual injunction restraining all the defendants whether by themselves or nay other persons claiming through them from selling, assigning, leasing or otherwise deal with their land.
Also in their statement of claims filed on their behalf by Dada Awosika, they claimed that their father, Alimi Kasumu purchased the 1070 acres of land, the subject matter of the suit fro Akinogun Olube and duly registered his title vide a Deed of Conveyance dated March 6, 1975 and registered as N022 at page 22 in volume 1692 of the Lands Registry in the office at Ibadan, now kept at Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria.
They also claimed that sometime in 1977, their father purchased another 1621 acres of land from the Akinogun-Olube family and executed a Deed of indenture dated November 28, 1977 covered by survey plan No: BPO/758C.It was the submission of the claimants that they have since that time been in immediate and undisturbed possession of the 1070 acres of land as well as the 1621 acres of land at Isheri, Ogun State.
According to them, their father granted license and permission, allocated different portion of the land to different people to farm in order to wade off person, individual or family with a rival claim.
They averred that their father died sometimes in April 2007 intestate under the native laws and customs of the Yorubas and on his death all his real properties inclusive of the 1070 acres of land as well as the 1621 acres of land at Isheri, Ogun State. the subject matter of the suit devolved on all the children collectively under Yoruba native laws and custom.
The claimants further contended that recently they noticed at first the officers of Mikano International Limited (first defendant) on the land and immediately caused a letter to be written to the company protesting their encroachment on the said land.
According to them, the first defendant invited them for a meeting to settle the matter amicably, in which they alluded to a certificate of Occupancy issued to them by Ogun State government, which the said government purportedly issued on the land of the claimants, without revocation and payment of compensation.
But Mikano International Limited in its amended statement of defence laid claims on 10 hectares of the land measuring approximately 24,711 acres lying and situate along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway at River View Estate and covered with a certificate of occupancy dated September 29, 2006 and registered as Number 2 at page 2 in volume 646 of the Land Registry in the office at Abeokuta Ogun state.
The first defendant also stated that it was not aware that the claimants are the owners of the land as the Ogun State government have acquired all the lands along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway starting along Iju and Ibafon in Ifo/Otta local council in 1986 then from Asese to Sagamu interchange in Obafemi/Owode local council in 1994 and 1999 respectively and the land, the subject matter of the suit is situated within the areas acquired by the Ogun State Government for industrial development.
It was also the contention of the first defendant that, it applied to the governor of Ogun state for the allocation of a parcel of land within the acquired land for industrial development and accepted the offer of allocation upon which a payment of N22.35 million was made in accordance with terms in the letter of allocation dated April 3, 2006.
The defendant further stated that it has not at anytime used any influence to deprive any community where it caries on its business their source of livelihood and that the acquisition of thee land in dispute is valid and effective as the land was acquired for industrial purpose.
It was also the contention of the first defendant that the claimants have never cultivated the land in dispute since the past ten years and the work that is being done on the land is an enhancement of the company’s objectives and that it has borrowed money from commercial banks where it pays interest on the loan granted.
Also the attorney general of Ogun state in a statement of defence stated that the state government acquired all that parcel of land situate, lying and being within one kilometre corridor along Iju and Ibafo Ifo/Ota local council of Ogun state containing an area of approximately 10,020 hectares of land in 1986 for overriding public purpose within the state under the provisions of the Land use Act 1978.
The third defendant avers that at the time of the said acquisition, all the affected parcel of land was vacant and bushy and that notice of acquisition dated September 8, 1986 was served on the affected land owners and where they could not serve personally, it were pasted at conspicuous places on trees in the acquired land.
By the virtue of the acquisition, the attorney general averred that the defendants were state government bonafide allotees and also collaborators in the state government’s common purpose of investment, industrialization and economic development of the state.The state therefore urged the court to dismiss the suit for being frivolous, misconceived and lacking merit as the said acquisition has extinguished all prior existing rights, if there is any, to the acquired land.
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