Magodo-Shangisha land tussle: Our judgement is final, Supreme Court tells Lagos

Ogunsakin Mustapha
6 Min Read

Justice Okoro: “There’s nothing more this court can do for you. We don’t want to hear anything more on this matter.

The age-long rift between the Lagos State Government and Shangisha Landlords Association over Choiced Magodo Land is far from being over as the Supreme Court has again thrown out Lagos State application for the interpretation of its 12 years old judgment which compelled it to allocate 549 plots of land to the Landlords within Magodo Estate as a matter of first priority.

Amidst the crisis that erupted in Magodo area two years ago when the landlords led by Chief Adeyiga (Judgement Creditors) to enforce the 12 years old Apex Court Judgement, the State  Government, on February 2022 ran to the Court to seek among others the relief and orde to vary or review its judgement of February, 10, 2012 in suit No SC 1/2/2002 between Military Government of Lagos State and Four others versus Chief Adebayo Adeyiga and six others.

The five man panel led by Justice Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court few days ago told Aare Muyiwa Akinboro (SAN) leading other lawyers for Lagos State and Olumide Sofowora SAN and Deji Fasusi for Shangisha landlords that they have no power to do what they were being asked to do and pointedly asked both parties in the matter to accept their fate as earlier decided by the Court. The court therefore advised all parties in the land dispute to go back and resolve the matter amicably

It was the view of the Justices that the judgement was unambiguous and that they are no longer in position to determine any right or request of any party prompting the Lagos state government to withdraw is application before it was  strike out by the court.

The legal dispute over Magodo land started about 38 years ago when Lagos State Government then acquired the land in the area and demolished structures in the pretext of putting the expanse of land for public use.

But sooner after the acquisition and displacement of original occupants, the land was allocated to private individuals for the development of their private properties, prompting the displaced owners, Chief Adebayo and others to approach the Lagos High Court on behalf of the entire Landlords whose list was attached then in their suit against the government.

The high court thereafter issued allottees an order asking the state government and its allottees to stop doing anything on the disputed land until the final determination of the suit, but this order was disobeyed by the government and its allottees as they continue to sell and develop the area.

The Landlords later defeated the government which was asked to as a matter of first priority allocate 549 plots of land to the Association and its members as contained in the list.

But not satisfied with the judgement, the Lagos State government took the matter to Appeal Court where the lower court judgement was upheld.

The matter eventually got to the Supreme Court where the judgement was upheld again against the State Government  making it compelling for the state government to allocate 549 Plots of Land to the aggrieved Landlords in the area.

Two years ago, when the landlords seized the entire Magodo Estate in a bid to enforce the Supreme court judgement, the Lagos State Government was able to stop that action by approaching the Supreme Court again with an application for a review and interpretation of its 12 years old judgement.

But the court few days ago said the judgment was unambiguous and that it has no power to review its own judgement and throw out the application  after all applications before it were withdrawn by the applicants.

Justice Okoro said: “There’s nothing more this court can do for you. We don’t want to hear anything more on this matter. We(Referring to Akinboro) You’re Aare. Go and sit down with Sofowora and discuss an amicable way to resolve among yourselves. Bring in this young man, Adeboye, the three of you should sit down without your clients, read the judgement and come up with an amicable solution. Both of you are senior lawyers. If there’s anything that has come up that is new, go to the High Court. By the time you come here, the people would’ve been no more. But there’s nothing we can do for you here.

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