The government of Lagos State, while in the bid to curb the excesses of hoodlums and landgrabbers in Lagos, seems to still have a long way to go as rate of land grabbing has gone on the increase in the last 2 years.
A pointer to this challenge is the case of some hoodlums who claim to be representing the interests of an Oba and other prominent traditional rulers, trespassed on the of legal property owners in Kirikiri Town of Amuwo-Odofin and have refused to obey court orders ordering them to desist from possessing or trespassing on a 4.5 acres parcel of land and waterfront owned Doyin Motors Ltd.
According to reports, the land in dispute was legitimately acquired by Doyin Motors Ltd 42 years ago in the year 1978 and the company has since carried out its business, anchoring its vessels there until a series of attacks by the sponsored hoodlums began sometime in 2009. Since then, pockets of violence have been unleashed on the property owner, occasioned with looting of properties, wanton damage to multi-million dollar vessels and injury on employees.
It was also gathered that the hoodlums who claim to be representing the interests of the Oba and some others, had claimed to have gotten a court order in 2019, an order that was later understood to have been secured without the appearance of the other party in court.
The company, Doyin Motors Ltd later made an application to the same court to challenge the order on suit no. LD/5939GCM/18, which was then set aside.
The learned Justice, Hon. Justice O.O. Ogunjobi stated “The application succeeds.The default judgment of the court delivered on 10th April, 2019 and its execution are (is) hereby set aside in respect of the 2, 488.520 square occupied by the applicant.”
The court also minced no words in scolding the Oba and the Chieftaincy family who disguised under the aegis of a firm called Earthmovers Ltd to institute a legal process that the court later described as being fraudulent and deceitful,
“The Respondent obtained the judgment sought to be set aside by fraud and suppression of facts.” the Court Statement read. However, despite the order of the court which empowers the legal owners of the said land, Doyin Motors Ltd to take rightful possession, it is surprising that the police are yet to effect the judgment.
Interestingly, documents dated since 4th of March by the Court Registrar requesting for “Police Assistance” to effect the court ruling are yet to be complied with by the Lagos state police command.
Sources said that efforts by court sheriff to serve the court ruling to effect the order has been frustrated so far.“It is sad that some police officers at the Command claimed that the first one submitted was misplaced, while efforts to submit another one is being frustrated up till now.” representative of Doyin Motors while speaking with newsmen said:
“This has taken us months to get the judge to vacate the ruling. It has been one story and another to get the Lagos state commissioner of police give the sheriff approval to take our land back from them.”
” They did the same to owner of the land next to ours too. They went to court to sue that unknown persons were occupying their land and they got judgement without the knowledge of the legitimate owners of the land in question.”
The Lagos State Property Protection Law 2016 among other things, sought to bring an end to the menace of land grabbers. Some of its provisions requiring up to 21 years imprisonment for offenders. Many expect the Lagos State government to come down hard on anyone contravening this law to serve as a deterrent to others who may want to test the government’s resolve in this regard.
It is therefore surprising that the Lagos state government has not stopped the activities of these land grabbers who have become a thorn in the flesh of property owners residing in the Kirikiri Town area of Amuwo-Odofin. Keen observers say this would be a test to the commitment of the Lagos state government to enforce its own laws