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Court Rules On Lagos Community After 35 Years Of Legal Battle



The 35-year-old legal battle over the ownership of a vast expanse of land, covering 11.370 hectares in Igbo Esinsin, Ologunebi village in the Alimosho area of Lagos State, was finally settled on Friday as sheriffs and court bailiffs supervised the possession of the land by the owner.

The battle for ownership of the land reportedly began in 1989, was discontinued, and another suit was instituted in 2006, which eventually terminated at the Supreme Court.

A Lagos High Court, presided over by Justice Atinuke Ipaye, granted an Order of Possession in favour of the Ologunebi family after the Supreme Court had struck out the notice of Appeal by Oba Sule Odu Alabe for himself and on behalf of the Odo Alabe and Ajasa families.

The high court judge had in September 2011, in a matter with Suit No. ID/937/2006, ruled in favour of the Ologunebi family, prompting the judgement debtor to seek redress at the Appeal Court and Supreme Court, where the case was withdrawn or struck out for incompetence.

Justice Atinuke Ipaye, while giving her ruling on the application for Order of Possession by the judgement creditor, emphasised that it is important that litigants enjoy the ‘fruit of success’ of their legal contest.

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Justice A. Ipaye also continued that “this court, having also extracted an undertaking from the judgement creditor to the effect that execution of the judgement shall not be used as an occasion to unleash violence and mayhem on the holders of third-party interest created over the subject property in the course of litigation.

She therefore ruled that “a consequential order of this honourable court be and is hereby made, granting possession of all that piece/parcel of land, subject matter of this suit situated, lying, and being at Igbo Esinsin Ologunebi village, Lagos State, whose land is more particularly described and delineated in Survey Plan No. AGB2457A dated 28th May 1980, measuring 11.370 hectares, to the judgement creditor in order to give full effect to the final judgement of this honourable court delivered on September 29, 2011 and affirmed by the judgement of the Court of Appeal in CA/L/87M/2012 delivered on the 7th of July 2015.”

Counsel to the Ologunebi family, Idowu Kokumo, urged those who were affected by the judgement and the possession order to take advantage of the situation to ratify their interest in the properties.

He also stated that his client may take full possession of the property if the affected house owners fail to ratify their ownership.

He said, “We are here this morning to execute the judgement of the High Court. The judgement was delivered over fifteen years ago. The Odo Alabe family appealed the judgement to the Court of Appeal, and they lost.”

The lawyer also added that “a subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court was struck out for incompetence. As of today, there is no subsisting appeal over the judgement of the high court.”

He therefore advised, “I hope they will take advantage by coming forward to ratify the ownership from the true owners of the land.”

He warned that “there will be a full recovery of the possession if they fail to ratify their ownership. The judgement is against the family that sold the land to them. It is in their own interest to come and ratify their ownership of the land.”

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