The immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, has sued his successor, Seyi Makinde, over the revocation of his landed property at Agodi Government Reservation Area (GRA), Ibadan.
Also sued alongside the governor are the state’s Attorney General, the Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
The former governor is also claiming N15 million from the defendants being the cost of the action, including the expenses incurred to file each of the cases, and his attorney’s professional fees.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, February 12, at the High Court of Justice of Oyo State in the Ibadan Judicial Division, by a former Attorney General of the State, Ojo Adebayo.
The matter involves the revocation of a property owned by Mr Ajimobi in Agodi, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Ibadan, 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.
Mr Ajimobi in the document before the court, is contesting the basis of the notice which was sent by the state government on January 31, 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.
Mr Ajimobi is seeking an order of perpetual injunction, stopping the state government from revoking the property with a Certificate of Right of Occupancy dated February 6, 2019 and registered as No. 56 at Page 56 in Volume 3771 of the Lands Registry Office.
He seeks 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 Mr Ajimobi, the land in dispute was donated to him by ‘Alhaji Alao’, and was acquired by him by the virtue of Statutory Right of Occupancy dated February 10, 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 contracts running on the land.
In the lawsuit, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development were accused of “forcibly entering, trespassing and breaking into Mr Ajimobi’s landed property on October 17, 2019.
The main gate of the property was allegedly destroyed, the doors of all the rooms in the property were smashed, and several valuable building materials in the property were also allegedly destroyed.
All these, according to the lawsuit, were perpetuated by officials of the ministry, armed police men and suspected political thugs of the Oyo State Governor.
In what was described as an act of trespassing, the former governor said he has since lodged a complaint with the police, and the individuals involved are being investigated.
The police had also reportedly interrogated the commissioner for lands, who is the 3rd defendant, and his ‘cohorts’, and according to the lawsuit, was accompanied to Abuja by an official from the office of the attorney-general.
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Taiwo Adisa, in a statement said that the government revoked the parcels of land in Agodi and Jericho due to “alteration of land use”.
The revocation order, which was dated February 10, 2020, indicated that the affected plots of land were revoked “for overriding public interest and for the use of the State Government”.
Seyi Makinde, Oyo State Governor [PHOTO CREDIT: @seyiamakinde]
“Notice is hereby given to members of the public that by virtue of powers conferred on the Executive Governor of Oyo State under the provisions of Section 28, of the Land Use Act, Cap LS, No. 18 of the Law of Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the under-listed plots of land located within the Agodi Government Reservation Area in Ibadan are hereby revoked by the Oyo State Government for overriding public interest absolutely and in particular for the use of the State Government.
“The affected parcels of land include Quarter 361 with adjoining Plots B and C, totalling 23,627sqm (about 48 plots); Quarters 371 and 372, totalling 9,875.002sqm; Plot 138 Magazine Road, Jericho, Ibadan with a total area of 2,990.638sqm; Block 1, Plot 1 and 2 Mammy Market, Agodi GRA, Ibadan; Block 2 Plot1, Agodi GRA; Block 2 Plot 2 and Block 3 Plot 3, also in Agodi GRA, Ibadan.
“Quarter 361, which originally sits on 1,477 Hectares of land used to house the Governor’s Guest House since the days of Western Region. The current owner prior to the revocation had, however, added the Government’s Protocol Quarters which sits on 2,279 sqm and another government property which sits on 6,565 sqm. That brings the current size of the land in the custody of the owner of Quarter 361 to a total of 23,627sqm.
“The Quarter was initially acquired by a former Governor of the State and revoked by his successor, who thereafter allocated the same to a top Ibadan businessman. The businessman had in turn, registered a “Deed of Gift” with the State’s Land Registry to indicate that he had given out the land to another former Governor of the state.
“Quarters 371 and 372 were also revoked in overriding public interest having violated the original Land Use. The same is true of Plot 138 Magazine Road, Jericho, Ibadan, which originally belongs to the Water Corporation of the State but was assigned to a private company by a past administration.
“The parcels of land located in the area known as Mammy Market, housing Block 1, plot 1 and 2, Block2 plot 1, Block2 plot 2 and 3 and Block 3 plot 3 were revoked for violating the one man, one plot principle guaranteed by the Land Use Act, 1978 as well as the approved Land Use when it was turned to commercial residential use, whereas the plots of land were given out for private residential purposes.
“They were supposed to be owner-occupier but they are not,” the official said.