Land war: IGP, others restrained from arresting Accountant


The Inspector-General of Police, IGP, alongside five others were on Tuesday restrained in the interim, from encroaching on the fundamental rights of a Chartered Accountant, Anthony Oluwatoyin Ogunlela.

The restraining order was issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Abimbola Awogboro after listening to the submissions made by counsel to the Accountant, Emmanuel Umoren.

In a Motion Exparte designated FHC/L/CS/1901/2021, the Accountant listed the IGP, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (Zone 2, Lagos); one DSP Friday; Supol Taofeek Olawunmi Olukorede, Mr Olatunji Kolawole a.ka. Bela Vista and Bela Vista Property Development Limited, as the first to sixth respondents in the suit.

Whilst granting the order, Justice Awogboro held that: “I find merit in the application. An order of interim injunction restraining the respondents, especially, the first to sixth respondents, their agents, servants or assigns from doing anything whatsoever that will encroach on the Applicant’s fundamental rights to access to his legitimate property, freedom of movement, personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom from unlawful persecution and/or prosecution, harassment, arrest and degrading treatment in terms of the reliefs sought in the accompanying statement of facts pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Motion.”

The judge however ordered the applicant, Ogunlela, to file an undertaking to pay damages should in case the order sought for ought not to be granted.

The matter has been adjourned till January 6, 2022, for hearing of the substantive suit.

It would be recalled that Ogunlela had in an affidavit attached with the Motion Exparte averred that himself and his wife, Olayinka, on or about 1996 purchased a piece of land at Ikate-Elegushi, Lekki from the Elegushi Royal Family, sold through the Elegushi Property Investment Company Limited and that the land is known as Plot 28, Block 10, Bakare Street, Ikate, Lekki, Lagos State, and caused it to be surveyed, got the consent of the Governor of Lagos State in compliance with the provisions of the Land Use Act, 1978 and same was registered as No. 89/89/2124 at the Land Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos State.

The Chartered Accountant stated that he has been in peaceful occupation of the land since he purchased it from his vendors as he built a fence in 2007 after he got approval from the Lagos State Government.

Ogunlela further argued that sometime in November 2019, he noticed a perimeter fence, being built trying to encircle his land and others, and he immediately complained to his Vendor who informed him that it was an illegal structure being constructed by one man popularly known as Bela Vista and that he should not bother, as they are in court in Suit marked LD/167/2008 between Bela Vista Property and Development Company Limited Vs Elegushi Property Investment Company Limited and others trying to lay claim to land that does not belong to him and that I should go on with my construction as it did not affect my land directly.

Ogunlela further argued that he was surprised when on June 6, 2020, went to his site and found that his fence had been pulled down by unknown persons, and he immediately reported to the Ilasan Police Division, Eti-Osa LGA and his Vendor made a Complainant Statement regarding the destruction of his fence on June 7, 2020.

He averred that he commenced sand filling the land and rebuilding the fence on November 17, 2021, when he was attacked by some persons wearing Police vests with the inscription “Special Forces” on them, when he asked them to identify themselves, they refused. “Again, I reported to the Ilasan Police Station by Petition as they said that if I do not leave the land, I will be killed,” he added.

The Accountant explained that “When the Ilasan Police Station could not do anything about my petition, even though the Police invited the fifth Respondent who I knew later was behind the destruction of my fence, he refused to show up at the Police Station, wherein I was advised that he being a big man with several Policemen as his guards, there is nothing the Police Station can do to him, and it was better I went to the 2nd Respondent (AIG, Zone 2) to report the criminal elements in the actions taken against me.

“I then wrote a petition to the Second Respondent.”

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