Court Bars Ogundipe, Others From Dealing with Siwonoye’s Land
Justice Jubril Abisoye Bashua of an Ikeja High Court of Lagos State, has made a restrain order against one Simon Ogundipe and others from alienating in any manner, dealing with Siwonoye’s family land, without the consent, concurrence and authority of Siwonoye family members.
Justice Basbua made the order while delivering judgement in a four independent consolidated suits numbered LD/919/2012 and LD/1612/12, wherein Mr. Simon Ogundipe, Olakunle Anifowoshe and Wasiu Mutiu sued for themselves and on behalf of the Siwonoye family of Odo Siwonoye Community against Mr. Kabiru and 20 others.
Ogundipe had alleged that Kabiru Lasisi, Ashiru Adeyigbo and 19 others, a to had alienated themselves by dealing with Siwonoye family land without the consent and compliance with the Land Use Act.
Lasisi and others had on June 18, 2012 filed another suit against Simon Ogundipe for a declaration to title and other reliefs in respect of the Land situated at Odosiwonoye.
The defendant, Ogundipe filed his response (defence) to the suit and counterclaim against the claimants. He also filed another suit seeking declaratory and injunctive reliefs with three others against Lasisi and 19 others, in respect of same land at Odo Siwonoye in Epe Local Government.
The four different suit filed by the two families to claim the ownership of the said land were consolidated on December 2013 wherein they amend their pleadings.
The defendants/counter-claimants (Lasisi) rest their case on position that the first and second claimants are not members of Siwonoye family and not biological defendant or consanguineous members of the Siwonoye family. “First claimant is from Tekusile village popularly called Tekule near Imobi village via Ogbere in Ijebu East Local Government Area, Ogun State”.
Their case was that Siwonoye exercise maximum absolute unhindered allodia rights of ownership on the parcel of land known and called Odo-Siwonoye family land. They denied being customary tenants but the rightful children of Siwonoye the owner of Odo-Siwonoye.
The claimants/defendants to counter-claim case was that, the parcel of land was founded by their forefathers by the name Siwonoye who hail from Fiditope Royal family of Ijebu-Ode and named the land Siwonoye being the founder of the land that defendant/counter-claimant nor their forefathers have never manage or been involve in the management or administration of affairs of Siwonoye family of Odo-Siwonoye village.
“They argued that they have no right whatsoever over land belonging to the Siwonoye nor do they have any right to question how same is administered and or who is competent to administer, alienate or allocate”.
However, the court inherited the suit in 2015 and commenced the trial immediately. The number of witnesses and days spent on cross examination, has taken years to deliver the judgement.
Justice Bashua, while delivering judgment in inherited suit, held that, “the court put evidence of both parties on the imaginary scale to see which is heavier and probable and the party who is able to put cogent and credible evidence before the court has established his case on a balance of probability. Cited Ibiyeye vs Fojule (2006) 3 NWLR pt 968,640.
“The argument of counsel to the counterclaimants, Mr. Babatunde Oshilaja who led Mrs. Doyin Bosuro, Mr. Moses Otusemade and Mrs Tosin Olusipo that they (counter claimants) established their case from the evidence before the court and therefore entitled to their claims”.
The court declared “that the land described and delineated in Survey Plan No LAY/0339/2011/060/LA dates 18th August 2011 made by Lateef Aremu Yakubu licensed/ registered surveyor belongs to the generality of Siwonoye family of Odosiwonoye via Epe, Lagos State except and without the defendants to counter-claim and that same can only be administered by the accredited head and representatives of Siwonoye family.”
The court also concluded that, “the traditional history of the counter-claimant is not probable, credible and cogent. And that the defendants to counter-claim not being the heads or any members of Siwonoye family cannot alienate or dispose the Siwonoye family land or any part thereof outside the applicable provision of the Land Use Act”.
Justice Bashua however dismissed claim three and four. “Claim 3 and 4 cannot be granted, it is hereby refused and dismissed”.
He therefore granted an order, restraining the defendants to counter-claim from dealing with Siwonoye family land and awarded the cost of N500.000 in favour counterclaimant.