Ijora land dispute: Iyalode Tinubu Estate Trustees ask Appellate court to set aside ruling

August 28, 2019
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The Trustees of the Estate of late Madam Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu have approached the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos with an application asking the court to set aside the ruling of Justice Wasiu Animahaun of a Lagos High Court, on a disputed Ijora land.

Justice Animahaun had in his ruling on January 23, 2019, dismissed the appellant’s counter-claim filed on June 8, 2017, in suit N0, M/5/2009 on the ground that it was an abuse of court process.

Dissatisfied with the lower court’s ruling, the trustees in the appeal prayed the appellate court to set aside the entire ruling of the lower court made on January 23, dismissing the appellant’s counter-claim filed on June 8, 2017, in the suit delineated M/5/2009.

In the appeal marked CA/LAG/CV/589/2019, the trustees prayed the court for an order reinstating to the cause list of the lower court, the counter-claim in the same suit dismissed by the lower court and an order for the trial of their counter-claim before another court within the same jurisdiction as constituted before the lower court.

In a 12-paragraph affidavit in support of the appeal deposed to by Ayoyinka Roberts, a legal practitioner with Reliance Solicitors, the Trustees prayed the Appellate Court to stay further proceeding on the matter pending the determination of the appeal, stressing that taking further proceeding in the matter will foist a situation of helplessness on the court of appeal and render the appeal nugatory.

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According to the appellant, the lower court erred in law when it decided that their counter-claim was an abuse of court process despite acknowledging that the counter-claim in the suit before him was the earlier in time. They also contended that the lower court erred in law when it held that they are precluded from bringing an action against Oba Abdul-Fatai Aremu Aromire, Chief Fatai Adio Suleiman, Prince Olayiwola Oluwa, (5th to 7th respondents), following the provision of section 16 of the limitation law (Cap L67) Laws of Lagos State by stating that for the 37 years of litigation before competent court of law, forms part of the limitation period against them despite acknowledging that the said litigation ended with the supreme court’s judgment delivered on April 3, 2009.

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They further argued that the trial court erred in law when it dismissed their counter-claim in its entirety notwithstanding the fact that the appellant has a counter-claim against the Adeyemi Olusina Savage, Mrs. Roseline Yeside Roberts, Kolawole Akinleye Savage, the first and third respondents whose parcel of land falls outside the purview of the land owned by the 5th- 7th respondent following the interpretation of the composite plan drawn by the office of the surveyor-general and which report was dated January 31, 2018.

But the respondents have argued that the counter claimant’s act was an attempt to reopen the issue litigated upon in the previous suit, which amounted to an abuse of court process. They also anchored the argument on the period of time that litigation in the previous suit took, right from the high court to the supreme court, stressing that the counter claimant and 6th defendant in the suit are caught by the principle of Estoppel by conduct, having not joined the previous suit that lasted 37 years in court, despite having constructive notice of the pendency of the suit.

Ownership of the vast hectares of land spanning to Iganmu, Ijora, Badia, Orile and Coker Village areas of Lagos State has been a subject of litigation for over 37 years before the Supreme Court on April 3, 2009, pronounced the Ojora Chieftaincy Family the legitimate owner of the disputed land.

However dispute arose in the land between Mr. Adeyemi Olusina Savage, Mrs. Roseline Yeside Roberts, Kolawole Akinleye Savage suing as administrators to the Estate of Kolapo Belugbade Savage as claimants in Suit N0 M/5/2009, while Taylor Woodrow Nigeria Limited, Oba Abdul-Fatai Aremu Aromire, Chief Fatai Adio Suleiman, Prince Olayiwola Oluwa and Twinsectra Nigeria limited were listed as respondents.

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