By Ajibola Abayomi,
March 20, 2019.
The family of the winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola has issued a five-week ultimatum to the illegal occupants of his estate at Ayobo, Lagos to either negotiate with the family or face demolition of their belongings.
Led by Chief Muritalah Abiola, the younger brother of MKO with some of the children of the deceased, the family gave the warning during a press briefing at the Secretariat of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State on Tuesday.
Muritalah disclosed that over 20 years ago parts of the over 400 hectares of land at Igbo-Ilogbo, Ayobo, Lagos was encroached by the occupants without recourse to the family.
According to him, he had been at the forefront of the struggle to reclaim the land stating he was initially slowed down because many his late brother’s chidden were still kids as at then.
While he said the family would sympathized with the tenants who were lured to the estate by some land speculators, he was however quick to warn one Al-Moruf to desist from further encroachment on the land after the both the High Court and Court of Appeal had delivered judgment in favour of the family.
Corroborating the position of Muritalah, both Olalekan Yisau Abiola, one of MKO’s sons and lawyer to the family, Barrister Victor Olajide assured that the family was willing to negotiate with any of the tenants if they conceded to their terms.
“We recognised the fact that many of the illegal tenants had been occupying the property for about 20 years while the case was in court. Abiola, while alive had won a case against them and we had gone to the Court of Appeal to revalidate the judgment.”
A statement by the family cited the judgment of the Honourable Justice W. Ajao Oshodi of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja dated November 11, 1988 in suit No. ID/155/86 between RCN Vs Adisa Bada & Ors and also Court of Appeal Judgment dated April 14, 2000 in suit No CA/L/199/1994 which had vindicated the family and Abiola as the owner of the land.
Further to that, Abiola family was also vindicated in a lead judgment read by Honourable Justice George Oguntade of Court of Appeal, Lagos (as he was) while revalidating the said judgment in suit No ID/155/86 by the Honourable Justice O.A Ogala (Mrs) of the Lagos High Court Ikeja in the ruling of July 4, 2018.
MKO Family averred that the subject matter of the above judgment concerned the expanse of land delineated in Survey Plan No RA/144 dated March 25, 1977 and covered by the deed of conveyance dated March 28, 1977 registered as No 24 in volume 1620 of the land registry, Lagos.
Muritalah said the family “was not unmindful of the blackmail and campaign of calumny being sponsored by a notorious land grabber (AL-Morouf & Co Ltd) who was inciting and sponsoring Radio/Media publicities against the family of Abiola to encroach into their fathers land.
The lawyer also argued that MKO fully owned RCN alongside his other conglomerates and berated Al-Morouf “for crying more than the bereaved regarding the ownership status of RCN, saying “a new born child knows that Chief MKO Abiola owns RCN.
“While that failed, he went propagating that the land belong to the RCN among other frivolous excuses and we denied in clear terms that our own Kola Abiola, the first child of MKO could not have connived and ceded out his father’s most cherished property to a stranger without the consent and any consideration of his siblings.
“Once again, the purpose is to notify the general public and occupants thereof that the execution levied by RCN on the March 14, 2019 in suit No ID/155/86 in Igbo-Ilogbo, Ayobo, Ipaja, Lagos is not meant to inflict hardship on the citizens but to protect the interest of and legacies of our late patriarch, it is with the consent and authorities of Abiola Family and indeed that of the estate.”