A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, has granted an order of interim injunction restraining NICON Trustees Limited and Abah Onah from interfering with the land on Alma Beach Estate located at Lekki Peninsula pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
Bolanle Olawale Babalakin (SAN), Abiodun Layonu, Temitayo Akinbami, Olusegun Ahmadu suing on behalf of Alma Beach Estates Limited had approached the court to seek for an order restraining the defendants/respondents, NICON Trustees Limited and Abah Onah from interfering with people’s land in the estate.
The plaintiffs/applicants had equally joined the Inspector General of Police (IGP) as a defendant in the suit, leading to the court also granting an interim injunction restraining the Nigeria Police Force from taking possession or interfering with the land pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
However, in spite of the above court orders, Chief N.C Okwarauba is alleging that the defendants, NICON Trustees Limited and Abah Onah, with the assistance of policemen have forcefully taken over lands belonging to allottees in the estate and started building.
In an advertorial published in the ThisDay Newspaper of October 31, 2019, titled, “Illegality: Under police protection, NICON Trustees grabs, sells and unlawfully builds on people’s land at Alma Beach Estate, Ikate, Lagos,” Okwarauba alleged that on October 22, NICON and its thugs forcefully took over land of an allottee and commenced building work on it in the presence of armed policemen.
He also alleged that Abah Onah, Bode Thomas and Ejeta Otunoniyo have been advertising and selling innocent people’s lands, adding that Onah was allegedly appointed by NICON as receiver of the estate that is a subject of litigation.
On the activities of Onah, Chief Okwarauba said: “We refer to a rejoinder published on page 33 of the Vanguard Newspaper on Monday, October 28, 2019, in which one Abah Onah tried hard to concoct and deliberately misrepresent facts with intent to deceive the public concerning the illegality being perpetrated by NICON and its agents at Alma Beach Estate.
“On October 22, 2019, allottees of Alma Beach Estate met with the Commissioner of Police (CP), Lagos State and Deputy Commissioner, Operations for a pre-arranged meeting in which NICON’s representatives also attended.
“The issue for discussion is the invasion of lands/property at Alma Beach Estate by armed police officers at the behest of NICON.
“In summary, the CP instructed the DC Operations to ensure that armed policemen ceased to enter into allottee’s land; that the deployment of policemen to the estate was on the orders of superiors in Abuja, namely the Office of the CP, Legal; Office of the PSO to the IGP.
and on the instigation of the Office of the FCIID headed by DIG Mike Ogbizi, based on an instruction dated September 26, 2019.”
He lamented that contrary to the CP’s order and the subsisting restraining court orders, “armed policemen remain on allottee’s lands/property having displaced lawful owners and their workers, some of whom were violently assaulted by NICON’s thugs led by Oluwaseun Kayode.”
Wondering why the police would get involved in a matter that is subject of litigation, he asked: “Why should the Nigeria police allow itself to be used by NICON to perpetrate these crimes? Why are senior police officers in Abuja, including the head of the FCIID interested in lands at Alma Beach Estate? Why should Area J/Ajah Commander always send officers to harass workers and allottees?”
Chief Okwarauba argued that under the Lagos State laws, NICON’s action amounts to land grabbing, which runs contrary to the law.
He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently prevail on the IGP to issue immediate instruction to withdraw policemen from the estate.
He also wants the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to urgently instruct the state Attorney General to prosecute NICON and its agents under the land grabbing laws of the state.