6th July, 2012
By Ayodeji Dedeigbo
The Ojora chieftaincy family and council who recently won a case at the Supreme Court over the ownership of land in Ijora, has evicted tenants from their houses at Bale Street, Orile-Iganmu, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
According to a statement from the Ojora’s palace, the tenants were given three months to pay for the land they occupied since they purchased the land from an impostor who had been sacked by the Supreme Court, which confirmed Ojora family as the rightful owner of the land.
According to the lawyer to the family, Prince Samuel Owojuyigbe, the chieftaincy and land dispute in Ijora dated back 1965 and a litigation in suit number LD/562/72 ensued where the Ojora family sued for the title of Iganmu land and its environs.
He stated that Chief Bello Davies and others lost the suit to Chief Israel Esurombi-Aro and others who represented the Ojora of Lagos.
Not satisfied with the judgement of a Lagos High Court, Chief Davies and others headed for the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos.
On 8 November, 2004, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghe and Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos (as they were then) delivered their judgement confirming the verdict of the Lagos High Court.
The judgement affirmed Ojora family as the rightful owner of the land in Iganmu. Still not satisfied, Ojora’s tenants appealed to the Supreme Court in suit number 5C/54/2005.
On 3 April, 2009, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, the outgoing Chief Judge of Nigeria, CJN, (then a judge of the Supreme Court) and Justice George A. Oguntade, Justice Francis Fedode Taibai, Justice Ogenyi Ogebe and Justice Muhammad S. Muntaka-Coomassie delivered a unanimous judgement which also affirmed the verdicts of the Lagos High Court and the Court of Appeal.
Ojora’s lawyer added that on 31 July, 2009, Sheriffs of the Lagos State High Court, in company of officers of the Lagos State Police Command from Area ‘B’ and ‘C’, journalists from both print and electronic media were present when the possession of the entire Iganmu land was taken by the Sheriffs and handed over to Ojora family.
Owojuyigbe therefore denied any illegal demolition by the Ojora family, explaining that in view of the foregoing, any title owner in Iganmu and its environs who failed to rectify his title with Ojora family cannot lay claim to any portion of the land.
However, one of the landlors, Monsuru Owoyele, a motor mechanic, told P.M.NEWS that he and others in the area approached Ojora’s palace to regularise their title but N2 billion was demanded from them. After negotiation, Owoyele said he paid N400,000 which was rejected. He said the roofs of his two buildings were later removed by hoodlums, claiming to be representatives of Ojora family.
On behalf of others, Owoyele appealed to the Ojora family to give him time to arrive at an amicable solution to the issue.