— Residence Implore Buhari, Sanwo-Olu Others To Intervene.
— Possible Social Unrest Imminent If….
The residents and landlords of Victory Park Estate, Lekki, Lagos State have raised alarm over alleged harassment and contempt of court by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and its receiver-manager
The residents claimed that they bought plots of land, spanning almost 50 hectares, in the estate from Grant Properties Ltd, a company promoted by the late Rev Olajide Awosedo and his family.
According to them, checks were carried out to ascertain that there were no caveats in the Lands Registry or the Corporate Affairs Commission on the properties before making payments
They also claimed that as at the time of buying the plots of land, Knight Rook’s title to the estate was free from any encumbrance, as no mortgage, pledge or charge had been obtained against it by any financial institution or any other company.
However, they expressed surprise that in June 2019 they woke to a publication that Knight Rook, the owner of the global certificate of occupancy over Victory Park Estate, was in receivership with other companies over a loan Grant Properties Ltd allegedly took from Sterling Bank, Skye Bank (now Polaris bank), Wema Bank and FCMB and the said banks had allegedly sold the unpaid loan as eligible bank assets to AMCON.
The receiver/manager obtained an ex-parte order in a suit numbered FHC/AB/CS/69/16 granting him the power to dispose or take possession of several properties in the estate, pending the conclusion of the debt recovery proceedings against Knight Rook and Grant Properties.
The residents alleged that under the guise of performing his functions, the receiver/manager has continued to make life unbearable for them with residents being forced out with thugs and the police.
They said many of the plots targeted by AMCON were already sold to third parties before the take-over by the banks and the eventual transfer of the assets to AMCON
The residents, the Victory Park Homeowners and Residents Association met with both AMCON and the receiver/manager in a bid to amicably resolve the issue but all to no avail.
The residents accused Olaoluwa of employing “despicable methods” to dislodge people from their properties as some were forced to repurchase their properties and “regularise” their title at exorbitant prices or forfeit them.
Some were asked to revalidate their title to plots of land they legally acquired from Knight Rook for a sum far more than what they had bought the plots for.
The residents have instituted several actions in court for injunction and orders preventing AMCON, Olaoluwa and his agents from trespassing on the plots of land pending the court’s decision.
Two of such cases were filed by Mrs Bose Ubude and Mr Okechukwu Okoli and his wife against AMCON and its receiver-manager Mr Lanre Olaoluwa.
Ubude filed a suit numbered LD/9769LMW/2020 against AMCON, Olaoluwa and three others at the Lagos State High Court and obtained an order directing the parties to the suit to maintain status quo.
“In view of the pendency of this before this court, I am directing all counsel to impress it on their respective clients the consequences of doing anything on the subject-matter of this action as from today the 15th of December, 2020. I so hold.” the court held
Mr and Mrs Okoli, in suit numbered LD/8277LMW/19, challenged their forcible ejection and subsequent sale of their land to a third party by AMCON in disregard of a subsisting court order preventing AMCON from doing so.
They accused AMCON of disregarding the age-long principle of lis pendens which enjoins parties who have submitted their disputes to the court from attempting to render the eventual decision nugatory through self-help.
The residents called for the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, AMCON Chairman Edward Lametek Adamu and its Managing Director, Lawan Kuru.
They also called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to direct his men not to allow themselves to be used by AMCON and its receiver-manager to disturb the peace of the residents and property owners.
According to the residents, the issues could degenerate to social unrest if AMCON and its agents are not called to order, as the agency, they insisted, cannot willfully continue to trample on rights and disrespect the powers of the court by taking over the properties of Nigerians without legal backing.
AMCON on their part denied any liability. They said there is a subsisting decision of the Court of Appeal (Lagos Division) in Appeal No: CA/L/146/18 which specifically foreclosed the residents’ right to the assets of Knight Rook Limited comprised within Victory Park Estate, Lekki, Lagos, among other assets. They advised all persons affected by the judgment and enforcement to contact AMCON through its solicitors or receiver/manager.