The Lekki Gardens Estate Limited (LGEL) has said Osborne Foreshore Residents’ Association (OSFRA) lied against it that it violates a court order.
The company said that there was a valid and subsisting order on the same matter by the Lagos State High Court.
In a statement issued on Wednesday and co-signed by the Executive Director, Emily Atebe and the Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nyong, Lekki Garden Estate Limited explained that it had promptly filed an application before the same Federal High Court judge to vacate the order obtained by OSFRA.
The company further said the authority to issue necessary building approvals/permits irrespective of whether the land is covered by a Federal Certificate of Occupancy is firmly vested in the state where the land is situated.
“Under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the High Court of Lagos State that issued the order to maintain the status quo on July 1, 2020 and the Federal High Court that was subsequently approached by OSFRA are courts of coordinate jurisdiction; so the Federal High Court order does not and cannot stand superior to the valid and subsisting order of the High Court of Lagos State.
“This is further buttressed by the maxim of equity which states that ‘when two equities are equal, the first in time shall prevail’. In this instance, the Order of the High Court of Lagos State is first in time.
“OSFRA, its Executives led by an old and experienced lawyer and its Trustees acted contemptuously against the High Court of Lagos State by blatantly disobeying its order in instituting the case with the same Parties and subject matter at the Federal High Court, a case of Forum Shopping”, said the Company.
“How can Counsel to OSFRA, a Learned Silk, Olukemi Pinheiro (SAN) being privy to the valid and subsisting order of the Lagos High Court and who acted as Counsel to OSFRA in the matter before the Lagos High Court, appear before the Federal High Court on the same subject matter without revealing all material facts to the judge that there is a subsisting order by the Lagos High Court, a court of coordinate jurisdiction, on the same matter?.
“It is unfortunate that the spate of lies by OSFRA since they embarked on this vendetta has continued to the point of recklessness.
“For instance, OSFRA falsely represented to the press that we were absent from court at the first hearing after the Federal High Court Order despite our being present in court.
“The records are there for verification that the judge, Honourable Justice I.N Oweibo pleaded that he would be unable to attend to the matter for personal reasons, in spite of the fact that he made the interim order and set the date we were meant to appear before him for the motion on notice.
“We are a peaceful and law-abiding organization committed to the development of the State and nation at large. It is however critical that we put things in proper perspective and keep the general public informed of the lengths OSFRA would go in its incessant aggression and disregard for legally constituted authority all in a bid to frustrate our business in a baseless vendetta that has gone too far and for too long”, the company concluded.
However, it was reported that Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High Court in Lagos had restricted the two defendants/applicants from predicating on any approvals granted by the 4th Defendant (Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority) pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
Justice Oweibo made the order following an application by the Registered Trustees of Osborne and Foreshore Residents Association through their counsel Mr Kemi Pinheiro SAN.
The order is the latest episode in the months long dispute between the residents and the association over, among others, alleged violation of the estate’s building plans.
Mr Pinheiro had argued in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/755/2021 that the defendants actions were against the policy of the estate as a residential territory.