There was no land grab at Opebi, Taskforce acted Lawfully – LASG

The Lagos State government said its special committee set up in the wake of a social media publication by a Lagos Lawyer, Monday Ubani, on a parcel of land allegedly taken over by the State government has submitted its final report.

The State government which disclosed this in a press statement signed by the commissioner for information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said the said parcel of land situated at 1 Folorunsho Kuku Street, Opebi, Ikeja belongs to the Meadows family which tendered documents and judgment from the Lagos State High Court to the Supreme Court.

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The Committee of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) to look into the complaint of the lawyer published on social media on the 31st December 2020, invited all the parties involved to its sitting which commenced on 4th January until 1st of February, 2021, to ascertain the identity of the land upon which enforcement was carried out and determine the present legal status of ownership as well as the level of involvement of the State Government Agencies.

According to Mr Omotoso, It was established that the Lagos State Special Task Force on Land Grabbers (LSSTF) took its enforcement action based on the petition received from Messrs. Millan Solicitors, on behalf of the Meadows family, to eject the occupants of the land in contention, which harbours shanties, mechanics and miscreants.

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The petitioners in their petition tendered copies of judgements obtained from various courts (High Court – Suit No. LD/513/80. Court of Appeal – Appeal No. CA/1/92 and the Supreme Court – SC/146/1995) and other documents showing their title to the land to substantiate their position.

The Coordinator of the Lagos Task Force having confirmed the authenticity of all documents presented by the petitioner and obtained approval to embark on the enforcement, in conjunction with other government agencies whose representatives were part of the Committee set up to establish facts of the matter – Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Ministry of Transportation and Office of the Surveyor-General, Lagos State took all necessary steps in compliance with the relevant laws guiding removal of vehicles of the mechanics illegally operating on the land; removal of the shanties and ejection of the hoodlums from the site before finally embarking on the enforcement.

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The Committee members conducted a physical inspection of the land on 4th January 2020 and established that despite the demolition carried out by the Special Operations Unit, the site was still occupied by hoodlums who threatened violence and insisted that they should be left to reside at the location.

The Meadows Family (the Petitioner) was also invited to the Committee and it was established that after the execution of the judgement of the High Court of Lagos State, some mechanics and miscreants dislodged them from the land and all efforts to remove the trespassers had proved abortive until the petition to the Lagos State Special Task Force.

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Mr Omotoso added that the Committee also ascertained that the Ex Parte Order submitted by Mr. Ubani was in the name of Circle Nigeria Limited but the C of O attached thereto in the name of Kayode Owoseye Akingbade – two different entities.

He said the lawyer, Mr Ubani did not also provide any document to justify that the land belongs to Circle Nigeria Limited.

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According to the findings of the Committee:  All the Survey Plans from both the Meadows family and that of Mr. Ubani’s Client revealed that the subject land falls within the Meadows’ family land; and that
The land on which enforcement was carried out by the LSSTF falls within the parcel of land for which Meadows family obtained judgement in their favour in Suit No. LG/513/80.
The social media publication made by Mr. Ubani was to get public sympathy and blackmail the Government and its Agencies from carrying out their legal functions.
The claim of Mr. Ubani cannot be substantiated with cogent facts.

The State Government assured all Lagosians that no illegal takeover of property will be allowed by the government, which will always be committed to the rule of law.

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It also added that the Special Task Force on Land Grabbers Law will be strengthened to grant the body power to remove trespassers from any land and put the rightful owner in possession of the property.

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