Residents of Magodo Estate, in the Isheri area of Lagos State, have said a group of people plan to invade their estate and demolish property in a bid to enforce a 1993 court judgment against the Lagos State Government.
The Magodo Residents Association Chairman, Mr. Kunle Eludire, said information gathered by the association showed that more than 1,000 armed mobile policemen, militants and hoodlums were being prepared to invade the estate.
He said, “We have it on good authority that any moment from now, they would invade our estate with bulldozers to demolish any property they fancy within the estate.” Eludire said the case, which had been lingering for about three decades, was instituted by one Chief Adebayo Adeyiga on behalf of members of the Shangisha Landlords Association in 1988.
He said the court had declared that members of the Shangisha association, whose land and buildings were demolished by the Lagos State Government between June 1984 and May 1985, be given first choice preferential treatment by the state government in the allocation of 549 plots of land in the Shangisha village.
Eludire said residents of the estate were not parties to the case and that the judgment was given against the Lagos State Government and not residents of Magodo Phase II.
He said, “From the judgment, it was a case against the Lagos State and not against any resident of Magodo GRA Phase II. Apparently knowing that our residents were not parties to their case and that there was no judgment against any of the residents to the case which was taken up to the Supreme Court, Adeyiga sought to join 549 residents of the estate in an originating summons filed at the Supreme Court in 2014.
“Based on our lawyer’s application at the Supreme Court, the originating summons was struck out on the grounds that the residents were not parties to the action and so no enforcement can be carried out against them or their properties.”
Eludire said the group went further to call him and some residents on the estate to the office of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, in Abuja, in February based on a petition alleging conspiracy, trespass and mischief.
He said the residents had written letters to the Lagos State Government and other relevant agencies asking for their intervention, but got no response.
He added that the residents later learnt that the Chief Judge of Lagos State had signed a warrant of possession, dated March 16 for Adeyiga to execute the Supreme Court judgment.
Eludire said, “The warrant of possession signed by the Chief Judge of Lagos State is flawed in many respects and as a result, we briefed our lawyers to challenge the process of issuance in court and appropriate application has been filed to stop the wrongful and illegal act.
“Notwithstanding that the application to set aside the purported warrant of possession has been served on all parties concerned, including counsel for the Shangisha Landlords Association, they have threatened to go ahead with their planned invasion of the estate, claiming the backing of some powers that be in Abuja.”
Legal Adviser to the association, Mr. Akin Adepoju, said the warrant of possession was flawed because the group had not been allocated any land or property within Magodo Phase II.
“We are independent people who asked for land from the state government and were given. We are surprised that a matter that started between them and the Lagos State Government now involves residents of Magodo Phase II at the enforcement stage,” he said.
The residents called on the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, the IGP and other relevant agencies to wade into the matter which could cause a breakdown of law and order.