This may not be best of times for the Chairman of Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Council Development Area of Lagos State and members of his staff, as the council is to face the music for allegedly encroaching on piece of land said to belong to the late Chief Aliu Adisa and the council, Muskam Construction Company Limited and Rasheed Adedayo have subsequently been dragged before a Lagos High Court.
The claimants who are children of the late Adisa among who is the Baale of Moba village, Chief Rasaki Aliu Adisa, are demanding a whopping N10 million as compensation for damages of the properties and structures on the said land which were allegedly destroyed by agents of the local council, while the company instructed to carry out the demolition, Muskam Construction Company Limited and Rasheed Adedayo were joined as co-defendants.
The said expanse of land known as Itire-Awope Market situated at Itire Awope Road, Alaba Oro in the council area, was said to have been leased to the late Alhaji Adisa by Ojora Ajibola in the 1950s and was confirmed in 1975 via Ojora Chieftaincy Family Councilâ€™s receipt dated 31 May, 1975.
The claimants averred that their late father used the said land to rear cows, cattle, guinea pigs and rams for uninterrupted 20 years before they decided to apply to the authorities for its conversion to a market and the project was initiated in October 1985 after payment of registration fees for which a receipt number D5029 was duly issued.
They further averred that the about 4718.681-square metres land was duly surveyed and the plan dated 12 December, 1983 was produced by Ademola Ashipa and that the said plan was in procession of their late father, who, while alive, sorely controlled the coordinated activities on the said land until his demise in 1989.
The children, who, as expected, took over the land, were advised by some people to involve the local council where the said land is located, saying that running it unilaterally will be more appropriate.
The claimants averred that they agreed to the suggestion and that the term of agreement was that they will be collecting rents while the council will be collecting the statutory fee for the temporary stalls and sheds put in place.
That was the situation until the claimants said they observed that the temporary structures on the said land were pulled down and foundation for new buildings dug on 28 July, 2010, without their approval and consent.
They, there and then approached their partner the Ajeromi-Ifelodun local council to notify them of the recent development but were shocked to be informed by the council officials that they had already concluded arrangements and had given the land to one Rasheed Adedayo and a construction company, Muskam Construction Company Limited for development, while Mr. Adedayo had already placed a sign board of ownership on the land.
The claimants averred that the defendants are now building on the said land day, prompting them to urge the court to make the declaration that they are the rightful owners of the land known as Itire-Awope Market, situated at Itire Awope Road, Alaba-Oro, Lagos.
They are also praying the court that they are the persons entitled to the grant of customary and/or statutory right of occupancy in respect of the said land and that the entry of the defendants into the property is illegal, wrongful and unauthorised
They also sought that the court grants them the possession of the said land and issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, whether by themselves, their agents or privies, from entering into and/or remaining in possession or dealing in any manner whatsoever with the parcel of land.
Finally, they also sought that an order be directed against the defendants for the sum of N10 million as damages for trespassing on the land.