Widow Battles Aiyegbeni Over Property


In a bid to recover her landed property, allegedly taken over by Super Eagles and Everton FC of England top striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni, the widows of former chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Mrs. Seroni Paulina Awa, has filed an application before a Lagos High Court to join the footballer as a necessary party in a legal battle.

Consequently, Justice Doris Okuwobi has ordered that court process should be served on him at his base at Houston Park, Liverpool City, England, by substituted means through a courier service.

The application was as a result of a suit filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Kola Sodiya, on behalf of Mrs. Paulina Awa against the defendants.

The defendants include Matthew Ige, a serving Colonel in the Nigerian Army, Inamemo Onibasa, Alhaji Surakali Adio Akasoro and Alhaji Mukaila Sogbamu.

In her claim, the widow alleged that the property situated at 19, Sogbamu Street, Apelehin, Bariga, Lagos, was willed to her and her husband by her mother and she has been in possession since 1958.

However, on 2 September, 2003, she received a notice to quit from a lawyer. The notice was followed by a notice of owner’s intention to recover possession. Thereafter, Alhaji Akasoro and Alhaji Sogbamu filed a suit against her but discontinued same seeing the futility of their action.

But on 26 October, 2005, the house was demolished on the ground that the property had been bought by Col. Onibasa.

They therefore filed a suit against the defendants asking the court to refrain all the parties from going to the land pending the determination of the suit. The court granted the prayer that the status quo be maintained.

However, in flagrant disobedience of the court order, certain people started building on the land. This, they do in the night when no one will see them.

Mrs. Awa then wrote a petition to AIG Zone 2, Lagos, to investigate the matter and the police arrested five engineers and the workers.

When the police investigated and interrogated the suspects, they confessed to the police that the suspects had sold the land to Yakubu Aiyegbeni who engaged them to build a hotel on the land.

Because of the Nigerian factor and the personality of Aiyegbeni, police have bluntly refused to issue a report of their findings.

In view of this, the plaintiff urged the court to join Aiyegbeni as a proper party in the case for proper adjudication.

Justice Okuwobi has adjourned till 15 June 2010 for argument to be canvassed by both parties.

—Akin Kuponiyi

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