On December 31, 1993, the trial court gave judgment in favor of Shangisha Landlord Association as represented by the Chief Adebayo Adeyiga and six)6) others with a mandatory injunction order on the judgment debtor (Lagos State government) to allocate 549 plots on the land in dispute as to the first choice preference to the association.
On March 16, 1994, while the appeal against the said judgment was pending, the judgment debtor applied for a stay of execution which was granted by the late Justice Rosaline Omotosho, who ordered both parties to maintain the status quo.
On May 4, 1994, the same judgment debtors in an attempt to eliminate members of the judgment creditors, sent members of the government task force with thugs after the chairman of the association Chief Adeyiga, who was beaten with his wife, wounded, and thrown down from his one-story building. This act cost him permanent disability on his body and complete damage to his eyes, this same act of lawlessness was also carried out on other members of the Association using the same task force, thugs, and security personnel.
In 1999, the late Honorable Justice Akinola Aguda tribunal on the allocation of land and Lagos state also gave an order against developers of all the lands in dispute and Shangisha/Magodo and Ikosi GRA to suspend work pending the determination of the suit ID 795/88 in the Court of Appeal but they did not obey the order.
Despite the caveat put on the land by the late Honorable Akinola Aguda, the Lagos state government and illegal allottees refused to obey the order of the late jurist. The Lagos state government and its land officials and Justice department, because of the reprimand given by the late jurist to some Judges.
Ministries of Justice and Land officials colluded and refused to release the recommendation and the report of the Late Justice Akinola Aguda panel until today.
On September 25, 2001, the Court of Appeal gave judgment against Lagos state and reaffirmed the judgment of the lower court. In order to preserve the rest of the land our counsel, the late Mr. Kehinde Sofola SAN wrote a letter dated July 29, 2002, to the then Attorney General of Lagos State, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN to preserve the 549 plots with him pending the determination of the case and sent a copy to the Supreme court. The Lagos state government dissatisfied with the same appealed to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which finally affirmed the judgment of the lower courts on February 10, 2012.
After the Supreme Court had dropped its hammer by confirming the judgment of the lower courts, we exhausted all options known in law to have our land even by auditing all the remaining vacant land in Magodo Ikosi GRA but all to no avail. We, therefore, applied as of right for writ of possession to harvest the fruit of our judgment.
Our lead counsel Mr. Kayode Sofola SAN wrote the former Chief Justice of Lagos State, the Honorable Justice Ayotunde Phillips on the need to sign the writ of possession to enable us to execute the judgment but she refused. We had no choice but to petition the former Chief Justice of Nigeria and chairman of the National Judicial Council, Chief Justice Honorable Mariam Aloma Mukhta who queried Justice Phillips concerning the matter. Surprisingly, Honorable Justice Ayotunde Phillips refused to answer the query until she retired in 2014.
A reminder of our petition is again forwarded to the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, The Honorable Justice Mohammed Mahmoud, and the NJC culminating in the issuing of another letter of request to Chief Justice of Lagos State, the Honorable Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade to know what step she had taken on the matter.
On November 11, 2016, we wrote a petition against Honorable Olufunmilayo Atilade on her failure to discharge her responsibility in the enforcement of the judgment of the Supreme Court for refusing to sign our writ of possession file before her in November 2015.
Based on all the above facts, we humbly stated that we have by all means done and exhausted what is expected of law-abiding citizens of the nation by following due process in this matter but the government of Lagos state has not deemed it necessary to obey court orders.
On March 1, 2016, the Supreme Court sitting on the matter again voiced its displeasure over the failure of the Lagos state government and the Chief Justice of Lagos state to execute its judgment. The Lagos State Attorney General Mr. Adeniji Kassim was specifically warned of the dangers of refusing to carry out the order of the Supreme Court.
Finally, the NJC which is the highest judicial body in the country ordered the Chief Justice of Lagos State, the Honorable justice Olufunmilayo Atilade to sign for the writ of possession for the recovery of 549 plots of land in the Magodo scheme II area within a specified period and with which she complied with accordingly. The writ of possession was signed on March 16, 2017. The process of execution of the writ had been completed by the Court Sheriff as shown in the correspondence between the Deputy Sheriff and the Police (AIG Zone 2 office) on the request for police assistance.
Thereafter the writ was assigned by the Deputy Sheriff to the Sheriffs for execution.
The police (AIG Zone 2 command) and the sheriffs held a meeting on the way the execution will be carried out to ensure smooth, or orderliness, and peaceful operation. A date was fixed by all parties involved by the AIG zone command for the commencement of the operation. We were shocked when informed that writ had been withdrawn by one Mr. Ojo of the execution Department on the instructions of the Honorable Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade. We were also informed that the Lagos state attorney general Mr. Adeniji Kassim held a meeting with the police (AIG Zone 2 command) asking the police not to accompany the Sheriff to the site of execution.
We wrote the Chief Justice of Lagos state on the matter informing her of the plan by the judgment Debtors/Lagos state government to scuttle the execution by setting aside the writ through sponsored groups who are not parties to the case but planning to file the application in court to set aside the writ. We received no reply from the Chief Justice on this matter.
The Association, therefore, had no option but to write a petition to the NJC on this matter and the role played by the duel of the Honorable Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade and the Lagos state attorney general, Mr. Adeniji Kassim in frustrating the process of execution of the writ. Our fears were later confirmed when a ruling to set aside the execution of the writ was given by Honorable Justice R. Adebiyi even though the association was not served with any process on the case.