OPEBI LAND TUSSLE: Lagos justifies action on disputed land

The Committee of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) to look into the complaint of a lawyer, M.O. Ubani (Esq.), published on social media on the 31st December 2020, in respect of land situate at 1, Folorunsho Kuku Street, Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos, has submitted its final report.

The Committee of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) to look into the complaint of a lawyer, M.O. Ubani (Esq.), published on social media on the 31st December 2020, in respect of land situate at 1, Folorunsho Kuku Street, Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos, has submitted its final report.

A statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, on Sunday said it was established that the Lagos State Special Task Force on Land Grabbers took its action based on the petition received from Millan Solicitors on behalf of the Meadows family to eject the occupants of the land in contention, which harbours shanties, mechanics and miscreants.

Omotoso said the petitioners tendered copies of judgements obtained from various courts (High Court – Suit No. LD/513/80; Court of Appeal – Appeal No. CA/1/92; and the Supreme Court – SC/146/1995) and other documents showing their title to the land to substantiate their position.

He said consequently, the Coordinator of the Lagos Task Force confirmed the authenticity of all documents presented by the petitioner and obtained approval to embark on the enforcement in conjunction with other government agencies whose representatives were part of the Committee set up to establish facts of the matter: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Ministry of Transportation and Office of the Surveyor-General of Lagos State.

He said: “Before finally embarking on the enforcement, steps were taken in compliance with the relevant laws guiding removal of vehicles of the mechanics illegally operating on the land; removal of the shanties and ejection of the hoodlums from the site.

“The Committee members conducted a physical inspection of the land on 4th January 2020 and established that despite the demolition carried out by the Special Operations Unit, the site was still occupied by hoodlums who threatened violence and insisted that they should be left to reside at the location.

“The Meadows Family (the Petitioner) was also invited to the Committee and it was established that after the execution of the judgement of the High Court of Lagos State, some mechanics and miscreants dislodged them from the land and all efforts to remove the trespassers had proved abortive until the petition to the Lagos State Special Task Force.

“The Committee also ascertained that the Ex Parte Order submitted by Mr. Ubani was in the name of Circle Nigeria Limited but the C of O attached thereto in the name of Kayode Owoseye Akingbade – two different entities.

“Ubani did not also provide any document to justify that the land belongs to Circle Nigeria Limited.”

Omotoso said the findings of the Committee also indicated that:

· All the Survey Plans from both the Meadows family and that of Mr. Ubani’s Client revealed that the subject land falls within the Meadows’ family land; and that

· The land on which enforcement was carried out by the LSSTF falls within the parcel of land for which Meadows family obtained judgement in their favour in Suit No. LG/513/80.

He added: “The social media publication made by Mr. Ubani was to get public sympathy and blackmail the Government and its Agencies from carrying out their legal functions. The claim of Mr. Ubani cannot be substantiated with cogent facts.

“Lagosians are assured that no illegal takeover of property will be allowed by the government, which will always be committed to the rule of law. The Special Task Force on Land Grabbers Law will be strengthened to grant the body power to remove trespassers from any land and put the rightful owner in possession of the property.”

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YORUBA/HAUSA CLASH: Gov. Akeredolu visits shasha in Ibadan, appeals for calm, dialogue

Worried at the violent clash between Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani Communities in Shasha, Ojoo Area of Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital, Ondo State Governor and Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Sunday, visited the troubled area, appealing to the warring parties to maintain calm.

The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.