Court Restrains Onikoyi, Others from Construction at 44 Gerrard, Ikoyi

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.Hears Originating Summons for Possession today

Bennett Oghifo

A High Court of Lagos, presided over by Hon. Justice O. O. Ogunjobi, has restrained “Unknown Persons (as the 1st Defendant); and Oba Onikoyi on behalf of the Onikoyi Chieftaincy Family, along with Chief Abayomi Samuel Fafunwa,” from “carrying out any further construction on the property, subject matter of Suit, at 44 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, pending the determination of the Originating Summons for Possession, filed by Oystelcom International Limited as Claimant, and which comes up for hearing today December 7, 2021.

Specifically, Justice O. O. Ogunjobi, on Suit No. D/2487LMW/2019, dated 25 November 2021, a Certified True Copy of which was sighted by THISDAY,

delivered a Ruling restraining the Defendants/Respondents – being Unknown Persons (as the 1st Defendant); and Oba Onikoyi on behalf of the Onikoyi Chieftaincy Family, along with Chief Abayomi Samuel Fafunwa (as the 2nd & 3rd Defendants) – from carrying on any further construction on the property, subject matter of the Suit, at 44 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, pending the determination of the Originating Summons for Possession filed by Oystelcom International Limited as Claimant.

The Ruling was delivered sequel to the Claimant/Applicant’s Motion on Notice dated 19th March, 2021, which sought, amongst others, the following:

An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, or through their agents, privies, assigns, representatives or any persons howsoever, from interfering with the Claimant’s possession of the property at 44, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons herein.

An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, or through their agents, privies, assigns, representatives or any persons howsoever, from damaging, destroying or demolishing the Claimant’s fence and buildings on the property at 44, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons herein.

An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, or through their agents, privies, assigns, representatives or any persons howsoever, from building, installing, constructing, or erecting, or further building, installing, constructing, or erecting, any fence, structures, buildings, or edifice, whatsoever, on the property at 44, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons herein.

The Claimant’s aforementioned Motion on Notice was supported by a 22 paragraph Affidavit and a 9 paragraph Affidavit of Urgency, both deposed to on 24th March, 2021 by Kingsley Usiagu Esq., Counsel in the Law Firm of CLP Legal, representing the Claimant in the Suit.

The 2nd & 3rd Defendants, on their part, filed a 25 paragraph Counter-Affidavit deposed to on 16th June, 2021 and a Further and Better Affidavit deposed to on 22nd October, 2021, in opposition to the Claimant’s aforesaid Motion seeking for an Interlocutory Injunction. Both Affidavits were deposed to by the 3rd Defendant, Chief Abayomi Samuel Fafunwa.

In the Suit, the Claimant claims that it acquired the property lying and situate at 44, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in October, 2007 from NITEL Trustees Limited (in liquidation), whose parent Company is Nigerian Telecommunications Plc., and from whom the said NITEL Trustees Limited had previously acquired its interest in the property.

Our correspondent also gathered from the processes filed by the parties to the action, that the 2nd & 3rd Defendants had hitherto filed Suit No: LD/934/2011 – HRM Oba Patrick Ibikunle Fanfuwa Onikoyi (The Oba of Ikoyi and Imoba Land) & Anor. v. Waoh Auto Company Limited & Oystelcom International Limited, in which they, as Claimants, claim to be entitled to possession of the very same property at 44 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos by virtue of a Judgment in Suit No. LD/1172/93 – Chief Patrick Ibikunle Fafunwa Onikoyi & Ors. v. Attorney-General of the Federation & Ors.

The Court processes disclose further that the Claimant alleges that, having filed Suit No: LD/934/2011, the 2nd & 3rd Defendants abandoned its case and, instead, forcefully wrested possession of a portion of the property abutting Parkview Estate Ikoyi, Lagos from it and immediately commenced demolition of the structures there and constructing new buildings on it. These developments culminated the filing of the present Suit No. LD/2487LM/2019 by the Claimant.

On their part, the 2nd & 3rd Defendants contended that the property in issue in the present Suit is not the same as that in issue in Suit No: LD/934/2011; and that they did not enter into the property in issue forcefully, but did so further to Warrants of Possession issued pursuant to its Judgment against the Claimant’s predecessor-in-title, NITEL, in Suit No. LD/1172/93. They argued, in this regard, that the title asserted by the Claimant in the present Suit has been vacated by the Judgment in Suit No. LD/1172/93.

After entertaining arguments from A. O. Omotoso; Esq. for the Claimants and A. Adenekan; Esq. for the 2nd & 3rd Respondents in adumbration of their respective Written Addresses, the Honourable Court in its Ruling, ordered as follows: “The prima facie evidence of the Claimant’s title to the land is worthy of protection, and I so hold. Consequently, an Order of Injunction is hereby granted restraining the Defendants from further construction on the property subject matter in this Suit situate at No. 44 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi pending the determination of the Claimant’s Originating Summons dated 19th March, 2021.”

Upon making the Order, the Court further ordered an accelerated hearing of the Suit and, pursuant thereto, adjourned the case to 7th December, 2021 for hearing of the Originating Summons for Possession dated 19th March, 2021.