The Supreme Court has upheld the acquisition of Isolo Industrial Estate and Matori Estate, about 926.6 acres of land, which the Government of Western Region took over in 1958 for overriding public interest.
The decision of the apex court was contained in a statement the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, issued yesterday, saying the 1958 Lagos State Acquisition of Land “has been affirmed.”
According to the statement, the Government of Western Region had in 1958 acquired a vast area of land measuring 5,000 acres for public purposes. The land acquired was within Badagry, Ikeja and Lagos.
After the creation of Lagos State, the statement noted that the area of land which fell within the state was an area amounting to approximately 929.6 acres.
However, in 1979, the statement said 34 persons who were affected by the acquisition approached the Lagos State Lands Tribunal for the purpose of determining the compensation payable to them for the acquisition of their land.
The statement added that the tribunal, in its judgment, had awarded the sum of N1,141,631.20 as compensation for the 929.6 acres.
But the statement noted that the Akingbaiye Family and 23 others appealed the decision of the tribunal and failure of Lagos State “to immediately pay the compensation.
“On December 27, 1985, the appellants filed an originating summons at the Lagos High Court against the then Military Governor of Lagos State and the Attorney General of the State claiming payment of interest on the judgment sum.
“The court entered judgment for the appellants but they were dissatisfied with the judgment only on the issue of interest and consequently filed an appeal. In 2002, the Court of Appeal, Lagos division dismissed the Appeal, while the appellants then appealed to the Supreme Court.
“The appellants represented by L.A.O Nylander filed their Brief on May 31, 2016, while the State Government’s brief was filed in June 28, 2016,” the statement said.
After the submissions by the parties, the apex court held that the decisions of the High Court of Lagos and the Court of Appeal were null and void in view of the fact that the two courts lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, adding that something placed on nothing is bound to fall.
“The appellants were wrong to come to High Court to seek the award of interest on the judgment debt and payment of judgment debt. They ought to have set in motion the process to enforce the judgment and appeal for interest rather than come by way of originating summons.
“By the Judgment, the Lagos State acquisition of the Land in question is further affirmed and the appellants’ claim for interest since 1979 in respect of the compensation was dismissed. The State is also not liable to pay interest on the amount already paid to the appellants as compensation.”