A retired Judge, Justice Grace Onyeabo, alongside a cleric, Reverend Mrs. Nwakife Onuzo, has dragged a businessman, Isaac Oghale Ikede, before a Lagos High Court at Osborne in Ikoyi, Lagos, over alleged trespass on their property at Unit C6 and Unit C7 Amber Court/Mews, Osapa London, off Lekki Epe expressway, Lagos State.
The claimants had in their suit marked LD/7735GCM/2021, listed Joseph Umunna and an unknown person as respondents. The claimants are seeking an Order of Interlocutory Injunction, restraining the defendants, their servants, agents, and or privies, from trespassing on their property at Unit C6, Amber Court/Mews and Unit C7 Amber Court/Mews, Osapa London, off Lekki Epe expressway, Lagos State, pending compliance with Pre-Action Protocols and the hearing and determination of the main suit.
However, testifying before the court, the second defendant, Isaac Ikede, denied encroaching on the property belonging to the claimants, and urged the court to help him recover his property, which he claimed was allegedly acquired by the second claimant, Reverend (Mrs.) Nwakife Onuzo.
Ikede told the court presided over by Justice Taofikat Abdullahi-Oyekan that the claimants do not have any claim against him, adding that he is the legal owner of Duplex C7, as declared by consent judgment in the suit numbered LD2320GCM/18, and the terms of settlement dated July 11, 2018, entered by Justice Onigbanjo.
In his oral testimony, Ikede stated that he signed a Joint Venture Agreement with one Emmanuel Obire, the managing director of Multipurpose Infrastructural Development Construction Limited, to develop six plots of land in Osapa London, Lekki. He stated that Clause 10b specifically states that it is only upon completion of the project that he (Ikede) will execute a Deed of Assignment to transfer the houses allotted to the developer before he can commence sales.
He stated that acting in violation of the agreement, Obire commenced sales immediately after he moved to the site, and allegedly sold all their share of the estate and even two houses belonging to him.
Ikede told the court that it was in that circumstances that retired Justice Grace Onyeabo and Rev Onuzo bought two duplexes without conducting a legal search on the title document or studying the Joint Venture Agreement that restricted off-plan sales.
Ikede in his witness statement on oath denied all the depositions made by the claimants, and maintained that he is the owner, and in possession of all the parcel of land lying being and situate at Osapa Village in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, measuring 4, 242. 217 square meters covered by the governor’s consent.
He stated that the claimants are unknown to him and that he did not sell/transact any business with them let alone executed a deed of assignment or any other instruments transferring title to the retired judge.
Ikede stated that Duplex C6 belongs to MIDC as listed in suit no: LD/2320/GCM/18 on the consent judgment, which shows the sharing of all the duplexes in the estate.
He told the court that he does not have any interest in Justice Onyeabo’s transaction with MIDC on Duplex C6, adding that in a counter affidavit filed by the first defendant company, MIDC Limited in suit no LD/2320/GCM/18, MIDC Limited, there was an attempt to cover up, and thereby they contradicted themselves.
He stated further that he has never met nor discussed with the second claimant, nor was he ever presented with a draft of N38 million as the first defendant fraudulently stated in their affidavit, adding that it was an attempt to deceive the court.
Ikede further stated that the letter of allocation dated October 3, 2018, which the second claimant relied on, only allocated mews C4 to her and not duplex C7 which belongs to him. He told the court that it is customary for every prospective buyer of a property to conduct a diligent search on the title of any property before making payment, stressing that had the second claimant conducted a legal search, she would have discovered that the first defendant and his firm do not hold title to the duplexes. Ikede stated that following the said suit, the parties resolved to submit their dispute to Mediation through the Lagos Multi-Door Court House and subsequently executed terms of settlement dated July 11, 2018, as full and final settlement of the claims in suit No: LD/2320GCM/18.
He said the terms of settlement were subsequently entered as Consent Judgment on October 22, 2018, by Justice S. A. Onigbanjo, which became the terms of settlement and subsequent court Judgment.
He stated that notwithstanding the clear provisions of the Consent Judgment, the first defendant, MIDC Limited, failed to complete, and deliver the housing project by the deadline of March 31, 2019, stipulated in the judgment, seven years after signing the joint venture agreement that was expected to last for a maximum period of two years. This, he said, contravened the provisions of the Joint Venture Agreement, and Consent Judgment, conduct that amounted to contempt of court.
Meanwhile, Justice Abdullahi-Oyekan has adjourned till December 1, 2022, for the adoption of written addresses by parties in the suit.
The Nigeria Lawyer