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Firm claims N2.7b over lease revocation on Lagos incinerator site

By Bertram Nwannekanma
08 August 2016   |   3:15 am
The parcel of land, known as Odaliki Incinerator Site, registered as N0.89/89/1999L at the Lagos Land Registry, Ikeja and located at Ebute Metta, Lagos has pitched a firm, Bagrett Ventures Limited ...

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The parcel of land, known as Odaliki Incinerator Site, registered as N0.89/89/1999L at the Lagos Land Registry, Ikeja and located at Ebute Metta, Lagos has pitched a firm, Bagrett Ventures Limited against the state government, Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice.

The bone of contention is the Lagos state government’s revocation of a 30 -year lease agreement granted in 1995 to Bagrett Ventures Limited, a company promoted by Chief Sikiru Balogun, for the building of a social and commercial centre consisting of multipurpose halls, offices and retail outlets with adequate car parks.

The firm in a suit filed in 2013  at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, is claiming the sum of N2.7 billion as damages against the state governor, LAWMA and the state’s Attorney -general, for what it called unlawful revocation of its lease agreement entered into with the Lagos state government on the land measuring 8128.64 squares metres.

In the suit pending before Justice Deborah Oluwayemi of the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafewa Balewa square, Igbosere, the firm is seeking a declaration that the forceful entry of the property now in dispute known as Odaliki Incinerator Site, registered as N0.89/89/1999L at the Lagos Land Registry Ikeja by the defendants on/ or December 29, 2010 amounts to trespass.

During the pendency of the suit, parties have  sought possible resolution of the matter,  which however failed leading to the  commencement of trial on the matter.
At the hearing of the matter on June, 7, 2016,  the trial judge, Justice Oluwayemi  admitted an amended statement of claims filed by the firm.

In the amended statement of claims, the firm is seeking a declaration that the notice of revocation dated 3/10/11 purporting to revoke or the  leasehold interest of the claimant in the property in dispute is unlawful, null and void.

Aside from that, the firm also want an order of the court directing the Lagos state governor to grant an expanse of commercial land of similar area with the complex, within the Lagos metropolis in areas, such as Ikeja, Ogudu, Oregun, Ojota, Ogba/Omole, Apapa/ Ijora, Oshodi-Apapa expressway, free of charge as full and final compensation, to assist them realize their dream elsewhere.

According to an amended statement of claims filed by its counsel Yemi Adeshina, on June 7, 2016, the claimant also wants the first defendant to cancel the purported revocation of its certificate of occupancy and the sum of N2.5 million as the cost of the action.

The claimant in its amended statement of claims averred that it is the leaseholder and titleholder of the landed property with survey plan N0. LS/LKJ/1097 and covered by Certificate of Occupancy dated May 28, 1999 registered as No. 89 at page 89, Volume 1999L of the Lands Registry Lagos State, Alausa, Ikeja.

According to the matter, the claimant sometimes in 1994, it applied to Lagos state government and was granted a leasehold title in respect of the parcel of land, an abandoned incinerator situated at Odaliki Street, Ebutte –Metta, Lagos state covering an area approximately 8128.64 square metres to transform it to a social and commercial centre consisting of multipurpose halls, offices and retail outlets with adequate car parks.

But the defendants in their statement of defence urged the court to dismiss the claims with considerable costs for lacking in merit.
In the defence filed by Mrs Kehinde Taiwo, Counsel to the defendants, they averred that the property warehoused an incinerator built by the Federal Ministry of Health for waste management purposes for the Lagos state government in 1976 and was then handed over to the erstwhile waste management authority in 1977.

According to the defendants, consequent to the Lagos state government’s change of policy on the use of incinerators in Lagos state, the property was kept under lock and key till 1995 when the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Lagos state requested for a temporary release of the property for social and recreational purposes.

They stated further that the community development association of the area was overwhelmed by the abandonment of the property and therefore welcomed the Lagos state government ‘s intervention through LAWMA (second defendant) in curbing the menace caused by the abandonment.

They further argued that the claimant neither made any improvements of the property after the said lease agreement nor after the said certificate of occupancy was granted but abandoned same.

At the last adjourned date on July 13, 2016, the court fixed November 3, 2016 for commencement of trial.