…urges Ariwoola to order court to hear suit pending since 2019
A group, International Human Rights & Anti-Corruption Society has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, over the long delay in the hearing of a suit instituted by Mr Lawal Babatunde Olalekan against the Ogundimu family and Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church, Akute, Ogun State, before an Ota High Court, over the alleged malicious destruction of his property, land grabbing, forcible entry and infringement on the fundamental human rights of the property owner.
According to the petition, in February 1992, Lawal, who is currently living abroad, purchased three and a half plots of land from the Fabolude family at N20,000 and was later issued a duly stamped receipt.
The human rights group said after Lawal obtained the receipt for the purchase of the land, he commissioned the drawing of a survey plan and later applied for a Certificate of Occupancy and got the approval for it on July 10, 2013.
Photocopies of the three documents are attached to the petition as Exhibits A, B and C.
It stated that while Lawal was processing his Certificate of Occupancy, he built a fenced four-flat property with attachments worth N30million, which were rented out to tenants upon completion.
The property was subsequently allocated an electricity metre by NEPA, which billed the property on a monthly basis for the electricity consumed. Photocopy of the bill is attached to the petition as Exhibit “D.”
The group also urged the CJN to cause the Department of State Security Services to investigate with a view to unraveling the truth regarding a judgement purportedly delivered on March 26, 2013 on the property.
The human rights group stated that its client (Lawal) was not aware of the pendency of the suit numbered HCJ/401/2005 until a copy of the judgment was pasted on the property. A copy of the judgment was attached to the petition as Exhibit E.
It added that on December 5, 2013, Lawal filed an application to set aside the judgment of the court. Copy of the application is attached as Exhibit F.
The group also called on the CJN to cause a lawyer, O.B Ibitoye Esq, who allegedly drafted a fraudulent and unsigned Deed of Assignment for the illegal purchasers purporting sale of the property by the Ogundimu family, whose action on Lawal’s land was pending at the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, to be probed.
It added that the Court of Appeal eventually set aside the judgment that favoured the Ogundimu family in suit number HCT/14CL/81 and set aside by the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, on June 30, 2016. Copies of both judgements on HCT/14CL/81 are attached to the petition as Exhibits G and G1, respectively.
The human rights group further said that the lawyer who prepared the Deed of Assignment must be made to answer some questions regarding the C of O he used in preparing his fraudulent Deed of Assignment. Secondly, the lawyer must identify the governor who approved it. Photocopy of the document is attached as Exhibit F.
It informed the CJN that thereafter, a bulldozer was brought by the Catholic Church representatives to completely demolish Lawal’s property. The photograph of the demolition exercise is attached to the petition as Exhibit J.
The group expressed shock that the suit numbered HCT/861 CL/2019 instituted by Lawal against the alleged trespassers/land grabbers before the High Court, Ota, Ogun State since 2019 had not been heard and the stage reached is not known to its client (Lawal).
The human rights group therefore appealed to the CJN to urgently intervene by ordering all those concerned “to allow justice to be done judicially and judiciously on this matter in earnest.”
The petition signed by the Ogun State Coordinator of the human rights group, Tai Titi Adams is also copied the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, the Chief Judge of Ogun State, Chairman, Committee on Petitions and Complaints, Ogun State House of Assembly and the Board of Trustees, Saint Alphonsus Catholic Mission, Abeokuta, Ogun State.