– New lawyer gives 8-day ultimatum which lapse today, demands N50million damages, threatens court action
-We are ready to prove you wrong in court – Sen. Ogunlewe tells lawyer, clients
The last may not have been heard on the Oriwu College land crisis as the two families at the centre of the crisis, Ladugba Agala Egiri and Liwe familes of Igbogbo and Ikorodu respectively, have demanded that the new lawyer that is claiming to be representing the families in the matter and asking the college to cease trespassing on the said land which was reportedly allocated to the premier college by the families over 70 years ago, to reveal the identity of his clients in the two families.
This was part of the families’ response to another letter by S.A Shitta-Bey & Co, dated 28th May, 2020, and signed by one S.A Shitta – Bey, esq. of Jabita Chambers (Olugbos House), located on 14, Akinsemoyin Street, off Bode Thomas Street, Surulere, Lagos, asking the Principal of the Oriwu Senior Model College, Ikorodu, to desist from trespassing into the portion of the school land belonging to Ladugba and Liwe land.
The said lawyer, we gathered sent copies of the letter to the Permanent Secretary/Tutor – General, Education District 2, Maryland, Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Igbogbo Police Station and Area ‘N’ Commander, Ijede, Ikorodu.
Shitta’s claims in the new letter are not different from what the former lawyer, Barr. Qudus Lawal of De – Precedent Law Firm, 55, Awolowo Way, Ikorodu, had written in a letter to the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, dated 19th November, 2019, notifying the state government of his clients’ (Ladugba and Liwe families) intention to take physical possession of their land located within the premises of Oriwu College, Ikorodu.
The only additions to the new letter are the ultimatum given by Shitta to the school to vacate the said land, demand for N50million as damages and threat to institute a court action if Oriwu College fails to comply with the stated demands within eight days.
The ultimatum, however, lapse today.
In a reply to the letter by Shitta, Lawrence Akinwunmi, a lawyer from the Ogunlewe & Ogunlewe Chamber, expressed dismay over the order given by the Shitta – Bey & Co.
Akinwunmi reportedly claimed to have written the letter on the order of Ladugba family represented by Dr Jaiyeola Ogunlewe, Prince Gbadebo Ogunlewe, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe and Mr Olaniran Ifekoya and Liwe family represented by Madam Fausat Fatai, daughter of Ambashu Otudein, former Ambashu (head) of Liwe Family, Ikorodu.
The representatives of the two families, through the letter, expressed their dismay over Shitta’s claim , stating that they, as the accredited heads of the Ladugba and Liwe families, did not instruct Shitta – Bey & Co. to act on their behalf.
“We have been referred to your letter dated 28th May 2020, and addressed to the Principal, Oriwu Senior Model College, Igbogbo, Ikorodu. Our Clients have expressed dismay over the letter because they are the accredited heads of these families and they did not instruct you or anyone to act on their behalf”, the letter stated.
“We would also be requesting to know whom your Client was referring to in paragraphs 9 and 10 of your letter as to who responded to your Client’s enquiries”.
Explaining how the entire Oriwu College land was allocated to the school, the letter states that former Oloja of Igbogbo, Oba Molaja Ogunlewe, and former Ambasu of LLadugba family ceded the land to the school in agreement with other eminent and founders of Oriwu College, Ikordu.
“Let it be known to you that the land in question was handed over to the College’s Board of Governors. It is also noteworthy that the then Oloja of lgbogbo, Oba. F.M Ogunlewe, who was the first Chairman of the Board of Governor of the School, and the then Ambashu of Ladugba Family ceded the Land in consonance with Alhaji S.O. Gbadamosi, Chief T.O.S. Benson. Alhaji Allison and the-then Ayangburen of lkorodu, these names are in fact extant in the School structure while houses are named after them till date.
“The School in question started as Community School and thus had input of all and sundry, including the above mentioned persons”.
In his letter to the Principal of Oriwu College, Barr. Shitta – Bey stated that his Chamber is the new law firm mandated to represent Ladugba and Liwe families.
“We are the newly appointed solicitors to the Ladugba Agala Egiri family and the Liwe family of Igbogbo and Ikorodu, Lagos State, respectively. The two families are, herein, referred to as our clients and we have their instructions to write to you on the above subject matter”, Barr. Shitta claimed in his letter clamed.
“The LADUGBA AGALA EGIRI FAMILY and the LIWE FAMILY of Igbogbo and Ikorodu, Lagos State, respectively, based on all intents and purposes, are customary landowners of large parcels of land located in Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
“Our clients have exercised their rights of ownership over the above-mentioned parcels of land from time immemorial without any form of unlawful interference from third parties until now.
“We were informed that sometime between the year 1954 and 1956, in the advent of the Free Education Program of the Government of the Western region, at the behest of the late Chief T.O.S Benson and the late Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya and in the interest of the community, our clients, in exercising their right of ownership, jointly assigned some parcels of land, measuring approximately 15 acres, to the then government of the Western Region for the purpose of establishing a model college known as the Oriwu Model College in the Igbogbo community of Ikorodu, Lagos State”.
He stated that the 15 acres jointly donated by the two families were in consideration of the fact that the establishment of the Oriwu Model College would be of immense benefit to the community at large.
He alleged that sometime in 2015, the management of Oriwu College encroached into the surrounding and adjoining parts of his clients’ land by erecting a barb-wire fence on a large parcel of land measuring approximately 71.68 acres far beyond the boundary of the said 15 acres of land originally assigned for the school between the 1954 to 1956.
He added that his clients were informed that the barbwire was erected for security purpose on enquiry from the school.
“Upon our clients’ investigation as to why the school authorities encroached upon their parcels of land, our clients were informed that the barb-wire fence was only being erected for security purposes to protect the students and nothing more. To that extent, our clients allowed the fence to remain in place out of consideration for the protection of the students until such a time that our clients’ would be ready to develop or sell their land.
“However, to our clients’ dismay, the schools’ management subsequently pulled down the barb-wires and annexed a substantial portion of our clients’ land measuring approximately 71.68 acres, by constructing and erecting a concrete fence beyond the original 15 acres of land originally donated by our clients for the establishment of the original Oriwu Model College, Igbogbo, Ikorodu”, the lawyer alleged.
While stating that efforts by his clients to stop the alleged encroachment by the school proved abortive, Shitta –Bey added that the act contravenes the provisions of Section 4 of the Lagos State Properties Protection law 2016, which attracts a fine of Five Million naira or Five years imprisonment or both for everyone involved.
While demanding the immediate cessation of the alleged encroachment, he gave 8-day ultimatum to the school management and demanded N50mmilion payment as damages, failure of which he said he would explore legal action to seek remedy.
“At this point, we, hereby, demand the immediate cessation of your unlawful act of trespass and further encroachment on our clients’ land.
“Finally, you are hereby directed to pull down all structure erected on our client’s land within seven days of your receipt of this letter and also demand the immediate payment of the sum of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira) to our clients as damages for emotional and financial distress you caused our clients by your unlawful acts.
“Please, take note that this is the last communication to you from us and our clients on this matter as our next step of action shall be to explore all legal remedies available to protect our clients’ interest and properties if you disregard our demands”, Shitta – Bey stated.
Meanwhile, Barr. Qudus Lawal has confirmed to THE IMPACT that his Chamber is working with S.A Shitta – Bey & Co on the matter.
Attempt to speak again with their clients proved abortive as our reporter was told by the lawyer that they don’t want to speak on the ground that our reporter was a former student of Oriwu College.
He, however, promised to get them to reason on why they should speak with our reporter.
Speaking on the matter with the former Minister of Works, Sen. Adeseye Ogunlewe who is a member of the Ladugba family, on phone, he confirmed the receipt of the another letter on the matter from the new lawyer and added that they, as the representatives of the Ladugba and Liwe families, have challenged the lawyer to also reveal the identity of his clients.
The former Senator, who is also a former student of the premier college, stated that he and other chieftains of the Ladugba and Liwe families are ready to face the lawyer and their clients in court on behalf of the school to prove that they have no case.