Eighty-two-year-old Head of Adogun Atele family, Pa Nurudeen Akapo and four other principal members of the family have asked an Ogun State High Court to restrain former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his farm (Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Limited), from further trespassing on their family land measuring 464.77 hectares, situated at Sogunro-Itele Awori, in Ado-Odo, Ogun State.
Other claimants in the suit are Mr. Sunday Owotolu, Chief Taoreed Dada and Alhaji Monsuru Yusuf.
The claimants, through their lawyer, Gbenga Ajala, in suit number HCT/185/2021 filed against former President Obasanjo (1st defendant) Obasanjo Farms Limited (2nd defendant) and Bureau of Lands and Survey, Ogun State (3rd defendant), are praying the court to cancel the purported interest of the former President and that of the 2nd defendant, Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Ltd on the disputed land.
In their statement of claims, the family said they are the affirmed founder and the first settler at Itele land comprising Ayetoro-Itele, Odan-Otun, Ajasa, Ejigun, Aparadija, Adeleye, Efura, Kongi, Lafenwa, Olugbode, Oguntedo, Beyioku, Egunjobi, Senikoro, Onifade and Sogunro villages.
The claimants added that the land in dispute falls within their family’s comprehensive Survey Plan No-PEG/06/2001/025 drawn by J. O. Olorunkunle and Plan No LA/49/1946 drawn by Liasu Smith.
The claimants said sometime in 2012, former President Obasanjo and his farm applied to the Bureau of Lands and Survey, Ogun State for issuance of Certificate of Occupancy on the disputed land.
They said immediately they became aware of it, they objected to it, but the former president through his aide, Chief Abraham Akanle, allegedly subjected their family members to police arrests and harassment.
The family stated that the ownership of the entire Itele land, including the land in dispute, had been judicially affirmed by the Court of Appeal in three judgments.
They said in November 2020, the 1st defendant (Chief Obasanjo) allegedly contacted them (claimants) through the immediate past Attorney-General of Ogun State, Dr. Olumide Ayeni SAN, requesting amicable settlement of the dispute.
The claimants said they were present alongside the first defendant, adding that the former President presented two survey plans and insisted that the land belonged to him.
They said efforts to make the former President disclose his vendor proved abortive.
The claimants added that sometime in 2020, the claimants’ family had a meeting with representatives of the 1st and 2nd defendants where it was unanimously agreed that before ownership of the land in dispute could be resolved, the 1st and 2nd defendants must disclose the size of their land and the name of the family through whom they derived their title.
According to the claimants, the defendants’ representatives allegedly led by Dr. Olumide Ayeni requested to report back in the first week of February, but never did.
Consequently, the claimants are praying the court for a declaration that being the judicially affirmed founder and first settler of the entire Itele town, they are entitled to the Statutory Right of Occupancy in respect of the entire land in dispute measuring an area of 464 hectares lying at Sogunro- Itele, Awori.
The claimants also asked the court to declare the purported offer for sale of their land by the 1st and 2nd defendants as illegal, null and void.
They are asking the court for “an order setting aside any documents of title purportedly executed in favour of the 1st and 2nd defendants on the claimants’ family land measuring an area of 464 hectares lying at Sogunro -Itele, Awori in Ado/Odo/Ota Ogun State and formed a small portion of vast expanse of land covered by survey plan number PEG/06/2001/025 drawn by J. O. Olorunkunle and Plan No LA/49/1946 drawn by Liasu Smith.”
The claimants are also praying the court for an order granting them possession of the land in dispute.