Sea Global Energy Ltd, a company which promotes the development of Ocean City Lagos, has brought an action against the Lagos State Government for allegedly reallocating property awarded to him by the federal government to the developers of Eko Atlantic City, in a case that could test the supremacy of land titles under the Land Use Act 1978.
Mike Ozhekome SAN filed the action on behalf of Ocean City Lagos Ltd in the Lagos High Court.
Ozhekome joined the Governor of Lagos State and South Energyx Nigeria – the company that was awarded the land – as defendants, asking the court to declare that the area South Energyx is encroaching on belongs to Ocean City Lagos ltd.
According to Ozhekome, “The property, over 1,000 hectares of land stretching from Ahmadu Bello Way towards Eti-Osa, was issued to Sea Global by the federal government in 2003 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The SAN argued that the Federal Government had the power to make such an allotment of the land under sections 49 and 51(2) of the Land Use Act 1978, the Acquisition of Deeds Act 1975 and the Glover Settlement Act 1908.
The Land Use Act in Sections 49 and 51(2) provides that any land owned by the federal government in a state, whether developed or undeveloped prior to the enactment of the Land Use Act of 1978, this land continues to secure and reside in the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Section 1(1) of the Land Act also vests in the Federal Government of Nigeria title to all land within 100 meters of the Nigerian coastline and any other land reclaimed from a lagoon, sea or ocean within or on the border of the Federal Republic. from Nigeria.
However, the Lagos State government re-allocated the same ownership to South Energyx insisting that the land allocation powers come from the same land use law.
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Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government and South Energyx have also brought a new action against Ocean City in 2021 on the same issues, a different action to the earlier action brought against them. This decision came after they filed their defense in the previous action.
“I found out that there has been a new case brought by the Lagos State Government through a social media platform where I saw a list of cases with the next adjournment date for the May 9, 2022. It was alleged that the legal proceedings had been served but there had not received any,” said Adewunmi Osagie, Managing Director of Sea Global Energy Ltd.
However, Ozehkhome said the fundamental nature of the service cannot be understated in any way.
“The provisions of the CAMA state that service on a company is effected when service has been made on a director of the company, the company secretary or any other person in a managerial position and not by simple filing in company premises. “, said the lawyer.
“We immediately filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection attacking the new lawsuit as constituting an abuse of court process and that the court lacks jurisdiction and a court lacks jurisdiction, according to the famous case of Madukolu v. Nkemdilim, when certain items that need to be fulfilled are not fulfilled.
“And one of those elements is that the case must have been brought in accordance with due process and this case was not so brought because the parties were not served, which is intended to allow a fair trial in any action,” he said.
In a letter to the Chamber from Mike Ozekhome dated May 27, 2022, the Lagos State Government and South Energyx made known their intention to consolidate both the new lawsuit filed by them and the previous lawsuit.
According to Ozekhome, “They are aware of the similarity of the two cases. We attacked this letter in response to the Chief Justice of Lagos. The second action filed is non-existent in the first place and cannot be brought lifelessly to another court for consolidation.
“We want the court to rule on the preliminary objection we filed first. We were hoping to get the court’s decision today, May 30, 2022, as it did not sit. However, the case has been adjourned to June 4, 2022,” he said.
Contacted on this subject, Gbenga Omotoso, commissioner in charge of information and strategy, declared that he could not speak on a matter already brought before the courts and that he could therefore not make any declaration on this subject. topic.
Osagie said the Ocean City Lagos project is state-of-the-art infrastructure, 7 km from the Atlantic Ocean, spanning the Ahmadu Bello and Adetokunbo Ademola way. The project is intended to house many tourist attractions with various infrastructure including an airport, local seaport, skyscrapers, sports areas and other attractive features, and the dispute is blocking the progress of the project.
However, the company decided to start developing another part of the area measuring around 350 hectares outside the disputed area.