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Businessman Wins Court Order Stopping Land Sale

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A businessman in Ogun State, Nigeria, has won a temporary court order preventing a property firm from selling disputed land. Adewale Oladejo filed an injunction against Property Cafe Ltd. and its managing director, Olalekan Okewoye, after claiming the firm reallocated five plots of land he previously purchased.

Land Purchase and Alleged Re-allocation

Oladejo’s lawsuit stems from a series of transactions that took place between 2015 and 2017. He claims to have purchased seven plots of land from Property Cafe Ltd. for a total of N17.5 million. As proof of ownership, he received a deed of assignment that detailed the plots, including five at Pen Estate Phase 1 and two at Phase 2. Oladejo further alleges that he initiated the process to finalize ownership by paying necessary fees to the Ogun State government. However, upon returning from his base in the United Kingdom in 2023, he was met with a shocking surprise. He discovered that Property Cafe Ltd. had allegedly reallocated his five plots at Pen Estate Phase 1 to another party.

Oladejo Seeks Legal Action

Unwilling to accept the situation, Oladejo filed a lawsuit against Property Cafe Ltd. In the suit numbered AB/797/2023, represented by lawyers Victor Fredrick and Sandra Abiem, he makes several key claims. Firstly, he seeks a declaration from the court that the reallocation of his five plots – specifically identified by plot numbers – is illegal, null, and void. This is based on the fact that he possesses a deed of assignment for the land. Secondly, Oladejo challenges the legality of a specific clause within the deed of assignment. This clause allegedly grants the defendants the right to reallocate their plots under certain circumstances. He seeks a court order declaring this clause null and void as well. Finally, Oladejo is requesting financial compensation for the alleged breach of contract. He seeks N10 million in damages from the defendants.

Property Cafe Ltd. has yet to publicly comment on the details of the lawsuit. However, their defense in court centered around a specific clause within the deed of assignment. They argued that Oladejo’s rights to the land should be considered waived due to his alleged failure to take full possession of the plots within three months of purchase.

Judge Freezes Land Sale and Case Continues

Justice A.A. Akinyemi of the Ogun State High Court in Abeokuta listened to the arguments presented by both sides. Recognizing the potential for a protracted legal battle and the possibility of further complications arising from the disputed land, he granted the injunction requested by Oladejo. This injunction, issued in November 2023, essentially freezes the situation. It orders both parties – Oladejo and Property Cafe Ltd. – to maintain the status quo, meaning they must refrain from any actions that could alter the current state of the land in question. This includes a halt on any attempts by Property Cafe Ltd. to sell or reallocate the disputed plots.

The judge scheduled the next hearing for April 16, 2024. This upcoming court date provides an opportunity for both parties to present evidence in support of their claims. Ideally, the hearing could lead to a settlement outside of court, satisfying both Oladejo’s desire to retain ownership of the land and Property Cafe Ltd.’s potential concerns.

Following Proper Procedures 

The case also underscores the significance of following established procedures during property transactions. This includes carefully reviewing contracts and deeds of assignment before signing, ensuring a clear understanding of all clauses and potential consequences. Additionally, promptly initiating the process of finalizing land ownership through relevant government agencies can help prevent future complications.

While the court order offers a reprieve for Oladejo, the legal battle is far from over. The upcoming hearing presents a crucial juncture in the case. A successful resolution could provide much-needed clarity on land ownership and prevent further disputes. This case also serves as a reminder for potential property buyers in Nigeria to conduct thorough due diligence and seek legal advice when necessary to ensure a smooth and secure property transaction.

Source: Vanguard  

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