Ijora Land Dispute: Hearing Stalls In Suit Filed By Tinubu Estate Trustees

The suit filed by the Trustees of the Estate of late Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu before the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos to challenge the decision of Justice Wasiu Animahaun of a Lagos High Court, on a disputed Ijora land stalled, on Friday due to the absence of the Justices of the Appellate Court.

The hearing could not go on as scheduled because the judges had to attend a valedictory session organised in honour of the retiring Court of Appeal President, Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, who will retire from the Bench on March 6, as she attains the statutorily mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

Ayoyinka Roberts, counsel to the trustees had filed the suit against the judgment of Justice Animahaun of January 23, 2019, which dismissed the appellant’s counterclaim filed on June 8, 2017, in a suit delineated M/5/2009 on the ground that it was an abuse of court process.

Dissatisfied with the lower court’s ruling, the Trustees had filed the appeal praying the appellate court to set aside the entire ruling of the lower court made on January 23, dismissing the appellant’s counterclaim filed on June 8, 2017, in suit N0, M/5/2009.

In the appeal marked CA/LAG/CV/589/2019, the Trustees is also praying the court for an order reinstating to the cause list of the lower court, the counter-claim in the same suit dismissed by the lower court as well as an order for the trial of their counterclaim before another court within the same jurisdiction as constituted before the lower court.

In a 12-paragraph affidavit in support of the appeal, the trustees also prayed the Appellate Court to stay further proceeding on the matter pending the determination of the appeal, stressing that taking further proceeding in the matter will foist a situation of helplessness on the court of appeal and render the appeal nugatory.

According to the appellants, the lower court erred in law when it decided that their counterclaim was an abuse of court process despite acknowledging that the counterclaim in the suit before him was the earlier in time.

But the respondents have argued that the counter claimant’s action was an attempt to reopen the issue litigated upon in the previous suit, which amounted to an abuse of court process.

Ownership of the vast hectares of land spanning to Iganmu, Ijora, Badia, Orile and Coker Village areas of Lagos State has been a subject of litigation for over 37 years before the Supreme Court on April 3, 2009, pronounced the Ojora Chieftaincy Family the legitimate owner of the disputed land.

Ayoyinka had stated that though the matter stalled, they are still maintaining the status quo in respect of the court. A new date is yet to be fixed for hearing in the matter.

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