The apex Court’s decision, delivered on February 10, 2012 mandated Lagos State government to give back 549 plots to the original landowners of the area before it was “fraudulently” acquired over 38 years ago.
According to the chairman of the Shangisha Landlords Association, Chief Adebayo Adeyiga, the landlords have no choice than to levy execution of the judgment, having waited for years after the apex court judgment without the judgment debtor (Lagos State Government) complying with the decision.
“These cases ID795/88, CAL 225/96, SC112/02 started in the High Court of Lagos in June 1988 and ended in the Supreme Court on February 10, 2012, all in favour of the Association.
“Up to this moment, the judgment creditors i.e the Shangisha Landlord Association have not been able to rip the fruit of their legal victory because of the uncooperative and recalcitrant attitude of the judgment debtors,” he stated.
As the anti-riot policemen were on strategic areas within the estate, some youths apparently recruited by the Shangisha Landlords Association were moving from house to house marking them for possession.
Their inscription on each house indicated that the court had given them possession of the land on which the houses were built.
It could be recalled that the military government of the state then acquired the area for public use but later sold the land to government officials and their cronies, the situation which made the original owners through Shangisha Landlords Association to approach the high court for redress.
The court then ruled that both parties should maintain status quo in the area, and that parties should vacate the land until final determination of the case.
But in disregard of the court order, the state government continued to sell the land.
The high court eventually, in its final judgment, ordered the state government to give the Association and its members 549 plots of land as a matter of first priority.
Dissatisfied with the high court judgment, the government approached the appeal court, which affirmed the judgment of the lower court on the matter and ordered that Lagos state should as a matter of first priority give back 549 plots of land to the original land owners.
The matter went on to the Supreme Court, which also affirmed the judgment of the lower courts, but Lagos state government refused to execute the judgment.
The police stormed the area at about 2.30pm yesterday to maintain law and order, while a court bailiff supervised the marking of the houses.
Some of the occupiers of the properties claimed that they bought the lands from Lagos state government and were issued certificates of occupancy, adding that they were not aware of any litigation on the property when they bought them.