There is tension among landlords and tenants in Atoyo Adubiagbe-Oga area of Sagamu Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogun State as the state high court has ordered a family to take possession of over 500 houses and land.
The court sitting in Sagamu, in a judgment, declared the family of Adubiagbe as the lawful owner of the community.
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The court also gave the family the power to take possession of the property on the land which had been in dispute for 17 years.
Our correspondent gathered that there had been a legal tussle between the family of Adefowodu-Oyelaru and Adubiagbe on the ownership of the Atoyo Adubiagbe-Oga community which sits on about 67 hectares.
The court had dismissed an application filed by the Adefowodu-Oyelaru family claiming the ownership of the land, but the family appealed the judgment at the Court of Appeal in Ibadan which redirected the case to the state high court for retrial.
While delivering judgement, Justice Nasiru Agbelu noted that the Adefowodu-Oyelaru family had not been able to prove ownership of the land based on the traditional evidence tendered.
Justice Agbelu stressed that the traditional evidence presented by the Adefowodu-Oyelaru family had a lot of unexplainable gaps which had made it not a piece of credible evidence to be used in court.
He, however, said the defendant, the Adubiagbe family, was able to provide credible, reliable and detailed traditional evidence to back its claim of being the owner of the land.
Justice Agbelu, therefore, declared that the Adubiagbe family was the true owner of the land and was entitled to the statutory Right of Occupancy (R-of-O) of the Atoyo Adubiagbe-Oga community.
He further declared all transactions, sales and acts done by the Adefowodu-Oyelaru family on the land as invalid, null and void.
He said, “I found and held that the claimant, having regard to the traditional evidence pleaded and given in evidence has not been able to prove the declaration source to the land in dispute.
“However, I found and held that the defendants have successfully pleaded and given evidence in support of the primary and traditional evidence that the part of the claimant refused to.
“I accept the evidence of the traditional issue of the defendants for being credible, reliable and cogent than that of the claimants which contain some gaps and which have not been explained.
“The claimants’ failure to claim where their progenitor came from further weakens their traditional history.
“The defendants provide credible, reliable and detailed information of the children of their progenitor up to the present generation.”
The counsel to the Adubiagbe family, Sulayman Giwa, has vowed to defend the judgment at any level.
Giwa, who described the judgment as well-delivered, commended the judge for doing his job without any form of bias.