Crisis Over Babasola Rhodes Estate

Novojo Farms and Fisheries Company Limited, an estate left behind by the late Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Babasola Rhodes, is now a subject of litigation in a federal high court in Lagos.

In a joint statement of claim filed before the court by the law firm of Adegbite Steven on behalf of the plaintiffs, the company, Novojo Farms and Fisheries, Mrs. Clara Oye Otoki and Mr. Olayinka Rhodes Jnr who are the niece and cousin of the two defendants, Mrs. Biola Babalola and Miss Mojisola Rhodes alleged that they are being victimised.

Mrs. Clara Oye Otoki who claimed to be of the same mother with the late Chief Babasola Rhodes averred that for them to keep the memory of their late mother alive, they named the company after their mother hence Novojo Farms and Fisheries Company Limited was formed.

It was further averred that after the incorporation, Lagos State government granted the company 38,496 hectares of land, part of which was sold to develop the residential part of the land comprising farm house, gym and recreation centre.

Mrs. Otoki alleged that during a meeting in 1992, she,  Babasola Rhodes and the two defendants were made directors but the defendants refused to be part of the management of the company.

Mrs. Otoki also alleged that sometime in 2000, when the defendant deserted their father, and upon insistence of their late father, it was agreed that the two defendants should be removed as directors and same be replaced with Dr. Bolaji Bamgboye, but the health challenges of the late Babasola Rhodes stalled the steps taken to effect the change at Corporate Affairs Commission.

Chief Babasola Rhodes died on the 8 October, 2004 but before then, the deceased told them that the two defendants should not be part of his personal estate.

However, the plaintiffs alleged that when the defendants got the information about  steps to be taken to revive Novojo Farms, Miss Mojisola Rhodes, using her power as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Lagos State governor instructed police to ransack the farm and her house, which they did and carted away vital documents pertaining to the company.

In view of this, the plaintiffs are urging the court not only to declare that the defendants have ceased to be the directors of Novojo Company but to also order them to return, forthwith, all documents pertaining to the company that they took away.

The plaintiffs are also urging the court to restrain the defendant from using security agents  to harass them.

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