By Kingsley Adegboye
A Lagos High Court presided over by Hon. Justice T. O. A. Oyekan – Abdullai has delivered judgment in a 20 year old land dispute instituted by the Itedo Community against the Attorney General of Lagos State, Elegushi Property Investment Company Limited, Bela Vista Property Development Company Limited (Bela Vista), Chief Kehinde Elegushi (Odofin of Ikate Land), Chief Lamidi Elegushi (Eletu of Ikate Land), Chief Karimu Bakare (Aro of Ikate Land) and Chief Morufu Elegushi (Olisa of Ikate Land).
The Land in dispute is edged pink in Plan No. BAASS.096/LAG/97 dated January 6, 1998 and formed part of the original land of the Elegushi Family under Yoruba native law and custom. The Elegushi Family sold a portion measuring 113. 884 hectares out of their large parcel of land to Bela Vista Property Development Company Limited in 1991 and an Irrevocable Power of Attorney registered as No. 99, Page 99, Volume 1926 was donated by the family in favour of Bela Vista Property Development Company Limited to cover the said potion of land.
The Claimants in the Suit had prayed the Court for a declaration that the Claimant’s in the Suit are entitled to a Customary/Statutory Right of Occupancy for Itedo Land and Order compelling the Lagos State Government to issue a Certificate of Occupancy to them.
Bela Vista Property Development Company Limited as the 3rd Defendant/Counter Claimant in the Suit prayed the court to declare that its root of title derived from the Elegushi Property Investment Company Limited (a nominee of the Elegushi Royal Family) is valid and that by virtue of the sale of the land to it by the Elegushi Family it is entitled to exercise all the ownership rights, total control, management, enjoyment, possession, occupation, and superintendence of the land marked as A, B, C, D measuring in aggregate 113.884 hectares otherwise known as and referred to as Bela Vista Estates more particularly described, delineated and marked Red in the survey Plan No. LS/D/LA/340 dated the 15th of August 1991 drawn by Surveyor Biodun Akinyemi.
Hon. Justice Oyekan – Abdullai in her judgment delivered on the 29th November 2016 declared that the Irrevocable Power of Attorney given to Bela Vista Property Development Company Limited by the Elegushi family is valid and that the Company is the owner of the land measuring approximately 113.884 hectares and covered by the said Irrevocable Power of Attorney registered as No. 99, Page 99, Volume 1926 donated to it by the Elegushi family.
Hon. Justice Oyekan – Abdullai therefore granted an Order of Possession in favour of Bela Vista of all portions of its land encroached and trespassed upon by Itedo Community and all the other people who derive their title from them.
Furthermore, the Court granted Bela Vista’s prayer for an Order of perpetual injunction restraining the Claimants in the Suit from committing any further acts of trespass on the land.
The sum of N250, 000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) was awarded to Bela Vista as damages for trespass by the Itedo Community.