An Oyo State High Court has fixed March 2, 2020 for the hearing of a suit filed by former Governor Abiola Ajimobi against his successor Seyi Makinde over the revocation of the former’s landed property at Government Reservation Area (GRA), Agodi, Ibadan.
Sued along with the governor are the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; his counterpart at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the ministry itself. The former governor is also claiming the sum of N15 million from the defendants being cost of the action, including the expenses incurred to file each of the cases, and his attorney’s professional fees.
The matter involves the revocation of a property owned by Ajimobi in Agodi, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Ibadan, the Oyo State capital to which the former governor has filed four suits numbered; I/183/2020, I/184/2020, I/185/2020 and I/186/2020 at the state High Court.
The Oyo State Registrar of Deeds has been listed as a witness to be subpoenaed by Ajimobi during the trial.
In the document before the court, Ajimobi is contesting the basis of the notice which was sent by the state government on the 31st of January, 2020. The letter entitled, “NOTICE OF INTENTION TO REVOKE INTEREST ON PORTION OF STATE LAND AT AGODI GOVERNMENT RESERVATION AREA, IBADAN, was sent by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development allegedly on the instruction of Governor Makinde, who was listed as the first defendant in the case. It was received by one Ms. Blessing on the February 6, 2020 via a Red Star Express Courier service.
In the claims, the former governor is seeking an order of perpetual injunction stopping the state government from revoking the property with a Certificate of Right of Occupancy dated 6th February 2019 and registered as No. 56 at Page 56 in Volume 3771 of the Lands Registry Office.
He is also seeking an order of injunction against the defendants, their servants, agents and privies, to stop the listed persons from restraining any developmental work, or causing disturbance on the said property, describing the revocation as “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and one not borne of good intention.”
According to the documents filed by the legal counsel of the former governor, the property to be revoked is no longer existent in name as it was merged with another property by the claimant with the “landed property comprised in the Deed of Gift, dated March 17th, 2015 between the former governor and Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola Alao, the late Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland. It is registered as No. 17 at Page 17 in Volume 3714 of the Deeds Registry Office, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.”
According to Ajimobi, the land in dispute was donated to him by Alhaji Azeez Arisekola-Alao, and was acquired by him by the virtue of Statutory Right of Occupancy dated February 10t, 2009 and registered as No. 35 at Page 35 in Volume 3556 of the Lands Registry Office, Ibadan. The donor was said to have enjoyed undisturbed possession of the land before donating it to the claimant.
It was also merged with the property registered as No. 16 at Page 16 in Volume 3714 of the Lands Registry Office, Ibadan, and was fenced round for the development of guest chalets, church, mosque, recreation areas and the country home of the former governor.
According to the documents, the former governor has not breached any of the covenant running on the land.
In the lawsuit, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and its commissioner were accused of forcibly entering, trespassing and breaking into Ajimobi’s landed property on the October 17, 2019. The main gate of the property was allegedly destroyed, the doors of all the rooms in the property smashed, and several valuable building materials in the property allegedly destroyed. All these, according to the lawsuit, were perpetuated by officials of the ministry, armed policemen and suspected political thugs of the Oyo State governor.
But the state government has explained that the said land could not be acquired by only one man, stressing that it violates the land use law. It added that the location of the said land makes it constitute a security risk to the Government House.