An Ikeja High Court has restrained one Bamidele Jemiyo, the claimant in a disputed land suit, from trespassing on a parcel of land situated along the Lagos-Epe express road close to Chevron Headquarters.
Justice Kazeem Alogba in his judgment also declared the defendants, Mr. Atiku Abogun and Chief Semiu Abogun the persons entitled to the right of occupancy on the said disputed two plots of land measuring approximately 1385.629 square metres.
The judge in his decision said the claimant through her counsel, I. Takuro failed to prove that she is the rightful owner of the land in dispute, while the defendant’s counsel, Ebun Adegboruwa proved beyond reasonable doubt their case.
The claimant, Bamidele Ejemiyo instituted the case in July 2007, seeking court declaration that she is the person entitle to the right of occupancy to the disputed two plots of land.
Amongst other reliefs, she also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, ether by themselves, their servants or agents from trespassing or further trespassing on the disputed land.
At trial, the claimant testified for herself wherein she laid claim to ownership of the land in dispute more particularly delineated in Survey Plan No ISO/LA/42B.83 dated November 18, 1983, which originally belonged to Justice Anthony Aina Michael Ekundayo and Mrs. Margaret Modupe Ekundayo by virtue of a Deed of Assignment dated March 21, 1992 executed in their favour by the accredited representatives of the Ojomu Chieftaincy Family of Ajiran.
She testified that the said family had from time immemorial being in exclusive possession and control as owners of the said land and have exercised maximum act of ownership without let or hindrance from anyone in respect of the entire area at Igbo Efon in the Etiosa Local Government Area of Lagos State, which titled had been confirmed by several judgments and the Lagos Offical Gazette No. 24 Vol. 27 date June 23, 1994.
The claimant said upon purchase of the two plots of land in dispute, she was issued a Purchase Receipt dated May 22, 1995 by Justice and Mrs. Ekundayo.
According to her, she took possession of the land, erected a fence round it with two big gates and remained in undisturbed possession until sometime in 2005 when the 1st defendant, Atiku Abogun encroached on the land which she reported to the 2nd defendant, Chief Semiu Abogun, who was the Village Head of the area then.
She said the 2nd defendant perused her title documents, confirm same but still requested that she paid the 1st defendant some money to allow peace to reign. She added that she also paid another N100,000 to the Land Administrator of the Ojomu Family.
In his testimony during trial, Chef Atiku Abogun, the 1st defendant told the court that the land in dispute was situate within the Igbo Efon community and belong to it having been in undisputed possession since time immemorial.
Atiku stated that neither the claimant nor her predecessors in title had ever exercised any right of ownership or been in possession of the land, adding that the defendants had no structure on the deputed land nor had any dealing with the claimant.
The defendant also explained that he never broke into or destroyed any fence or gate on any land of the claimant.
Atiku also debunked the sale of any land in Igbo Efon to the claimant or her vendors, as well as any title of the Ojomu Chieftaincy Family over any land in igbo-Efon as the family had no land there.
He explained that the Ojomu Chieftaincy Family is an illegal and unregistered entity, engaged in preparing spurious layout plans to grab lands belonging to other communities through acquisition and other excision by Lagos State Government.
But Justice Alogba in his judgment said he observed that none of the exhibits tendered by the claimant showed that the land in dispute being claimed by her was purchased from the Ojomu Cheftaincy Family as she could not show any grant from the Ojomu chieftaincy Family or one to her vendors.
The judge said the claimant failed to prove that the defendants were customary tenants of Igbo-Efon land or that same was owned by the Ojomu Chieftaincy Family.
“Having failed to prove her root of title, the identity of the land she’s claiming, the claimant failed to prove any entitlement to the declaration of title she sought in the case.
“Her claims for perpetual injunction and damages must also crumble being consequential reliefs that can only be granted if her claim for declaration of the title succeeded.
“All the clams of the claimant are hereby dismissed in their entirety for lack of proof as required by Law,” the judge ruled.