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Disputed Computer Village building: Appeal Court fixes May 2 to hear appeal on default judgment

The Court of Appeal, Lagos on Monday fixed May 2 to hear an appeal challenging a default judgment which awarded a property at Computer Village, Ikeja, to three people as original owners of the land.

The three Justices of the appellate court, led by Justice A. U. Ogakwu, also ordered all parties to maintain the status quo on the 53-year-old property until the adjourned hearing date.

The News Agency of Nigeria  (NAN) reports that the default judgment was delivered by an Igbosere High Court, Lagos in 2017

The applicant, Mrs Risikatu Gbose-Adebule, had in April 2018, filed a motion on notice before the lower court, challenging the default judgment.

She claimed that the default judgment was delivered in her absence and without participating in the proceedings leading to the judgment and possession of the property situated at No. 18, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Computer Village, Ikeja.

Adebule is seeking an order of injunction restraining the respondents – Kolawole Ajayi Moses, Chief Layiwola Moses and Olorunnimbe Moses – their agents, privies or servants from taking any further action on the property, pending the determination of her appeal.

She wants the property preserved so that the respondents would not destroy it while the appeal is still pending before the Court of Appeal.

Counsel to the applicant – Mr Chijioke Ubani – had filed the motion on notice on behalf of Adebule family.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, Ubani told the court that he filed two applications and an injuction for his appeal.

He, however, prayed the court to make an order preserving the subject matter of the suit until the substantive injunction is heard.

Counsel to the respondent, Jadidat Yusuf, did not oppose the application.

The Appeal Court granted the application that the status quo should be maintained and adjourned hearing until May 2

NAN reports that the Dec. 12, 2017 default judgment by an Igbosere High Court gave possession of the building on Plot 18 to the respondents out of the other properties on Plots 16, 20 and 22, property of the late Assistant Police Commissioner, Mr Baden Olufemi Adebule.

Adebule averred that the four houses are on the same title deed and that the inherited properties are shared among the deceased children.

She also faulted the claims of the respondents that they own Plot 18 out of the four adjoining houses.

Before the ruling by Justice O.O. Femi-Adeniyi of the lower court on Dec. 12, 2017, the respondents had allegedly issued a writ of summons on May 2, 2013 and also filed an ex-parte application for substituted service on the applicant.

The sheriff had deposed that the applicant did not reside at the address for service.

The processes filed were allegedly served by pasting them at the address without the knowledge of the applicant, who resides in Badagry, Lagos State.

The late Adebule had been granted a 99-year lease of the land on Sept. 18, 1965 over approximately 2, 536.70 sq yards by the then Western Nigeria Government.

The children and the widow of the deceased had been granted a Letter of Administration of his estate on Nov. 20, 1985 (Exhibit RA9).

The building in dispute had been standing since the 1960s without challenge from the respondents/claimants.

The applicant’s father had been in exclusive and undisturbed possession until Aug. 11, 2017.

The applicant’s tenants had been on the premises since 2013 with more than 20 shops and offices.

The applicant also claimed that no court summons had been brought to her attention until Aug. 11, 2017 when court officials and the police came to effect execution on the premises.

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