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Firm petitions police over alleged stealing of land document

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The Nigeria Police, Ogun State Command has been urged to investigate alleged stealing of an original deed of sub-lease document belonging to Jimioil Nigeria Limited.

The company also pleaded with the police to ensure that the perpetrator of the alleged criminal act is punished according to the law.
In a petition dated March 7, 2020, to the Sagamu Area Command, by counsel to the company, Babatunde Oshilaja, against one Michael Babatunde Bello and his company, Jimioil Nigeria Limited, stated that its original Deed of sub-lease, which is the basis and subject of the petition is just one of many such title documents to parcels of land held/owned by it, that have gone missing since the death of Otunba Gilbert Olufadejimi Osiname, its Chairman/Chief Executive, who has had and retained custody, possession and control of these title documents with him personally up until his death on May 26, 2003. 

The lawyer said that after May 2003, the company experienced the loss of many of its title documents including the one to landed property at Ijora Foreshore, Ijora, Apapa, Lagos State and reported the missing document to the Divisional Police Officer, Nigeria Police, Divisional Headquarters, lsara-Remo, Ogun State on June 15, 2006, with a Sworn Declaration by its Shareholder/Director, Chief Mrs. Christiana Molaye Osiname at the High Court, Registry Sagamu dated June 15, 2006; while it published the Loss of Deed on page 44 of The Guardian Newspaper of Monday June 12, 2006.

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He stated that subsequent to the above, Mr. Kayode Omotosho, a lawyer in his letter dated April 16, 2008, admitted that the missing original deed in respect of the ljora, Lagos property had been in custody of Mr. Kayode Osiname.

Oshilaja further stated that on January 29, 2009, he received written instruction from the company to take up any matter that may arise in connection with the company in respect of its landed property along Benin/Sagamu Express Road at Sagamu International Market Junction, opposite Ojajimi Petrol Station. 

The lawyer stated that, the alleged Deed of Assignment between Jimioil Limited and Olaoluwa Nigeria Limited, which was alleged as evidence of purchase/transfer is not registered at the Lands Registry, Abeokuta and it is invalid in law to effect any transfer of the interest in the Sub-Lease of Jimioil Limited

Oshilaja also said that there was no direct payment of any amount or the alleged N1.5 million, purchaser price to Jimioil Limited or its Bank Account since July 2008. Adding that the price N1.5 million allegedly paid was so very low for the entire/total 7784.00 square metres of land compared to the open market price which an honest seller (Jimioil Nigeria Limited) possessed of the Original Deed of SubLease would expect to obtain for it as to suggest by itself that the N15 million is the price of a stolen property. 

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HOWEVER, responding to the allegations, the Managing Director of Olaoluwa Nigeria Limited, Babatunde Michael Bello in a counter petition to Ogun State Police Commissioner accused the Sagamu Area Command of unlawful interference in a matter that is already before the court.
 
Bello’s lawyer, Uthman Adeniyi in the counter-petition captioned “unlawful interference in judicial process in suit no HCS/77/16 and harassment of Mr. Bello and the Managing Director of the 5th defendant in the suit” dated March 19, 2020, while denying all the allegations contained in the petition against him, stated that the petitioner, Mrs. Osiname was involved in all the transaction and cannot prove forgery allegation.
 
Bello, who maintained he did not commit any offence as alleged by the petitioner, also accused the police of meddling in a matter that is already before a court of competent jurisdiction. He therefore appealed to Ogun State police authority, to avoid been in collusion with the court. While also threatening to file an application joining both the Ogun State Police and Sagamu Area Commands in the suit, to forestall further interference. 

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IN an effort to ensure the revamp Suleja Water and Sewerage Corporation (SWSC) improve livelihoods and meet obligations to the citizens, graduate students of Stanford University have developed a water access platform that outlines some innovative steps to meet the gaps in water services.

The platform known as Suleja Water Access Platform (SWAP) was developed in collaboration with the UN- Habitat and Niger State government to improve access to quality water in Suleja. The city has suffered from a lack of basic infrastructure and service, especially unreliable access to quality water.

Despite the technical demarcation between Abuja and cities outside of the FCT, Abuja’s growth impacted Suleja, which is now the largest city in Niger State. Slums and informal settlements are a product of failed policies, weak governance, corruption, lack of regulation, dysfunctional land markets, unresponsive financial systems and a lack of political will.

In response to this situation, the Niger State Government sought assistance from UN-Habitat through the Niger State Urban Technical Support Programme which aims to formulate a Niger State urban development policy to prepare urban development plans for Suleja. One key element of the Integrated Development Plan is improving water and sanitation in Suleja.

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This prompted a focused research on water access in Suleja by the students – Nicole Gargano and Zuha Maryam Shaikh. The students said, the core elements of SWAP can be adopted in essence and the various outlined steps can serve as critical starting steps.

However, these steps should undergo iteration through implementation and feedback in order to make SWAP more impactful toward the goal of relieving water stress faced by the residents as well as to make Suleja a pioneer city in addressing its water challenges.

They said that the goal of SWAP is increasing access to quality water by improving the existing system. Among the recommendations is ONE: integrating different modes of water access into an improved, equitable and reliable water access system for all residents such as informal vendor integration and creating communal ownership of existing and potential standpipes as well as borehole ownership.
TWO: putting in place communication mechanisms between residents and the water body that allows the opportunity to collect data and test system performance, as well as build credibility of the water body as an institution that residents can trust.

THREE: Capacity building of the Suleja water board by retraining Suleja local water staff to understand the goals and operational details of the SWAP model and creating specialised positions within Suleja Water and Sewerage Corporation for technical monitoring, customer service, vendor integration and community engagement.

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The students explained, “Our messaging strategy for residents focuses on an awareness campaign led by community leaders that incentivizes residents to buy from official water vendors.

“Through an awareness campaign, it will create and expand awareness of the platform, and the benefits such as improved quality of water and guarantee of stable pricing.

“For the second component of the programme, community standpipes, we would need to incentivize residents to actively manage the standpipes and initiate the process of getting funding from the local government.”

They said that the incentives for residents should be; improvement in reliability and quality of water; customers who buy only from government certified vendors will get some free jerry cans every month. “It is an opportunity to participate in broader change in Suleja and ensure stable prices from water vendors as well as opportunity to build water resilience in neighborhoods.”

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