COMPANY SLAMMED WITH N227M SUIT OVER TRESPASS
Members of the family of the late Pa Saka Magbadelo of Alaguntan village in Ewekoro area of Ogun state have dragged a firm, Lafarge Cement Wapco Plc before Ogun state high court sitting in Ota over alleged trespass on their land.
According to a suit filed by Nojimu Magbadelo, Atanda Magbadelo, Mojeed Magbadelo and Rabiu Magbadelo suing in representative capacity through their counsel, Abayomi Omoyinmi, they, among others, claimed that the large expanse of land originally belonged to Pa Magbadelo.
However, the defendant in their response in a motion on notice is seeking for an order of the court dismissing the suit on the ground that it is statute barred, disclose no cause of action and that the claimants lack requisite legal capacity to institute the action. In the suit, among others they are asking for a sum of N227.1million damages (special and general) from the defendant as compensation for the alleged act of trespass and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the company from further committing act of trespass on the property in dispute.
In the statement of claim filed along with the suit, the claimants among others deposed that they were children and grand-children of late Pa Magbadelo who succeeded him and also became successful farmers on the land where they derived their means of likelihood, stating that their ownership of the land flowed from the established Yoruba native law and custom.
According to the claimants, they had been enjoying uninterrupted possession on the land covered by survey number: OG/276/2010/119 drawn by one Bode Adeaga, a licensed surveyor until the sudden appearance of the defendant and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and Nigeria Gas Company on the scene.
Further the claimant averred that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and the Nigeria Gas Company first appeared on the scene which led to a successful legal action against them while another alleged trespasser on their land outside the subject matter of the suit, West Africa Portland Cement Company Limited had paid them compensation through the office of the Bureau Lands, Survey and Town Planning.
The claimants denied any knowledge of the acquisition of their acclaimed land through a Deed of lease dated June11,1964 through which the defendant claimed the vast land measuring 891.101hectares was leased to them for 500years by the government of the former West Region of Nigeria since 1957.
Challenging the claimants, the defendant contended that there was no dispute whatsoever on the ownership of the land since the land was legally acquired by them, stating that if the claimants had farmed on the land as claimed in the statement of claim, they must have done so illegally, since they did not obtain the necessary permission from them.