The Lagos state government has condemned the attempt by the Shangisha Landlords Association to demolish houses in Magodo estate phase two.
Some police officers, said to have been accompanied by hoodlums, arrived at the estate with bulldozers on Tuesday evening.
The hoodlums marked some houses in the estate with an inscription which reads ‘ID/795/88 possession taken today 21/12/2021 by court order’ in what appeared to be a move to demolish the marked houses.
But members of the Magodo Residents’ Association (MRA) locked up the gates leading to the exit and entry points of the estate in a bid to resist what they described as “forceful takeover”.
Following the intervention of the Lagos government, the police officers withdrew and normalcy returned to the estate on Wednesday afternoon.
Speaking on the development in a statement on Thursday, Moyosore Onigbanjo, attorney-general of Lagos, said the case dates back to the demolition of properties at Shangisha village between 1984 and 1985, after which a supreme court verdict ordered the state to give the Shangisha landlords 549 plots of land as a “matter of first priority”.
Onigbanjo, however, said the verdict of the supreme court only relates to “allocation” and not “possession” of any land.
He said the state, between 2012 and 2015, made a proposal to re-allocate land to the judgement creditors at Magotho residential scheme within the Badagry axis, but Adebayo Adeyiga, chairman of the Shangisha Landlords Association, rejected the state’s offer, while “majority of the judgement creditors accepted it”.
The attorney-general said “another round of settlement was initiated in 2016” with an offer of re-allocation at Ibeju Lekki area, but Adeyiga also rejected the proposal.
“Subsequent to the rejection, the state government has been in dialogue with the majority of the judgment creditors from 2019 with a view to reach a concession towards implementing the judgment,” the statement reads.
“Noteworthy also is the pending application for interlocutory injunction dated 1st December 2020 before the court of appeal in appeal no. CA/L/1005A/2018 seeking an order restraining Chief Adebayo Adeyiga and others (including their agents, servants, privies or howsoever called, particularly the police) from entering into, giving direction, taking possession or in any manner disturbing the quiet enjoyment of property owners in Magodo Residential Area Scheme.
“The Lagos state government has equally observed that the execution was carried out by unknown bailiffs as the sheriffs of the High Court of Lagos, where the judgment emanated, were not responsible for the purported execution carried out on the 21st December 2021 at Magodo.
“The purported execution is therefore contrary to Order 8 Rule 17 of the Supreme Court Rules 2014 and Section 37 of the Enforcement of Judgment and Orders Part iii of the Sherriff and Civil Process Act, LFN, 2004.
“The Judgment before the supreme court was not in respect of declaration of title and the supreme court did not in any way grant title to land to the judgment creditors.
“The judgment creditors had no claim for possession and none was granted as no survey plan was tendered before the Court. The judgment is not affixed to any land anywhere and only declared that the judgment creditors are entitled to allocation of land from the state government.”
Onigbanjo added that the state will prosecute all those involved in the invasion of the estate.
“The state government is therefore dismayed by the action of Chief Adebayo Adeyiga (one of the Judgment Creditors) who misled the Nigeria Police in attempting execution of the Judgment, notwithstanding the pending appeal against the issuance of warrant of possession by the then Chief Judge of Lagos State on 16th March 2017,” he said.
“The state government enjoins the general public to remain calm, especially residents of Magodo Residential Area, while investigation into the unwarranted incident is being carried out with a view to prosecuting any person found culpable.
“The Lagos state government has high regard for the rule of law and will protect the interests of all parties.”