Olajide Ajana, a Lagos-based lawyer, has instituted a court case against the Lagos State government.
The lawyer dragged a Redeemed Christian Church of God pastor, Goke Aniyeloye, his client, Prince Stephen ibitoye and the Lagos State Government to court over a land transaction.
Ajana took Aniyeloye, Ibitoye and other defendants to court over an alleged intent to outsmart him in the sale of a parcel of land at Wasimi, Maryland, Lagos.
In the said Suit numbered ID/8990GCMW/2022, Ibitoye was sued as the 1st Defendant while Pastor Aniyeloye; the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Lagos State Attorney General and the Director of Land Bureau, Lagos State were sued as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants respectively.
In a 46-paragraph statement of claim, Ajana stated that his client engaged his services at a time but couldn't pay him and therefore opted to pay for the legal services rendered with the land.
It was learnt that the said Ibitoye had engaged the service of a lawyer in 2013 over his parcel of land which was being encroached on by land grabbers.
Ajana in his statement of claim added that his client duly assigned him 5 acres and 3 plots out of the same parcel of land at Wasimi as payment in lieu of legal services and expenses to be rendered due to his (Ibitoye's) inability to pay for his services at the time.
He also accused Ibitoye of conniving with the second defendant, a land speculator to sell off the whole land including the one assigned to him after his efforts on the land resulted in the chasing off of the land grabbers.
The statement of claim read, "Claimant avers that at the time his services were engaged, that the 1st Defendant had no means whatsoever of paying for his services.
"As a matter of fact, the first defendant could not pay for the courier service that was engaged to dispatch the letter written on his behalf to the persons encroaching and trespassing on the said parcel of land.
"Claimant avers that due to the broke state of the 1st Defendant and his inability to finance the expenses related to the legal services to be provided and to pay the professional fees of the Claimant, he opted to pay for the legal services by assigning 5 acres 3 plots out of his parcel of land at Wasimi, Maryland, Lagos as payment.
"This is in lieu of legal services and expenses to be rendered by the Claimant. Claimant plead the Deed of assignments executed between him and the 1st defendants and shall rely on same at the trial of this suit.
"Claimant avers that upon the agreement between him and the 1st Defendant, he commenced series of actions which include written letters and Petition to the police in respect of the encroachment on the said parcel of land at Wasimi, Maryland belonging to the 1st Defendant.”
Ajana in the statement of claim averred that he subsequently commenced litigation on behalf of the 1st Defendant when the initial efforts did not dislodge the encroachers on the 1st Defendant’s parcel of land.
He said a case was also filed in 2014 and 16 defendants were sued in respect of the said trespass and encroachment of the 1st Defendant’s property.
Ajana said he engaged the services of another law firm and colleagues to support him to deliver effective and competent legal services for Ibitoye.
He said an order of status quo ante bellum was also obtained which forced the trespassers and encroachers to vacate the said parcel of land and to also remove their various construction equipment from the site.
The lawyer noted in the statement of claim that he had also written a series of petitions to the police at different police commands of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Claimant avers that he personally represented the 1st Defendant and attended interviews on his behalf due to his non-availability and constant travelling.”
“Claimant avers that the 1st Defendant has also ignored him and refused to answer his calls or honour meetings set up with him.
“Claimant avers that the 1st and the 2nd Defendants are determined to rob him of his entitlement and labour expended for more than 9 years,” he added.
Ajana claimed that Ibiyoye and Aniyeloye, both first and second defendants hijacked the process because of the recognition given to Ibiyoye by the Lagos State Government.
He added that the duo had started selling the said property including the portion assigned to him despite the pendency of Suit No ID/032 LM/2014 in respect of the property.
The statement of claim further read that "the 2nd Defendant has also fraudulently applied to the Lagos State Government for the issuance of Certificate of Occupancy in respect of the said land at Wasimi, Maryland, Lagos, including the portion belonging to me without his consent or authorization."
Ajana however said he is still representing Ibitoye in court in respect of the suit and had sponsored all expenses in respect of the said suit and other processes.
"The first defendant has not paid me a dime in respect of the professional services rendered to him, neither has he allowed me to take possession of my own portion of 5 acres 3 plots of land,” he said.
Ajana further sought an order stating that any sale/transfer of the said 5 acres 3 plots of land or any portion of the said land at Wasimi, Maryland Lagos, which Ibitoye had assigned in lieu of the professional fees to the claimant to Aniyeloye or any persons is wrongful, illegal, null and void.