Lagos community accuses AMCON of estate takeover, ignoring court order

Residents of Victory Park Estate in Igbokushu, Lekki area of Lagos State, have accused the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria of taking over the estate despite a court order that forbids it from doing so.

The residents, under the aegis of the Association of Victory Park Estate Bare Land Owners, alleged that AMCON disregarded several court orders restraining it from carrying out any activities on the estate and sold the land to a third party to start construction.

The lawyer representing some of the residents of the estate, Mayowa Owolabi, disclosed that the association acquired several plots of land within the estate in 2002 from a company, Knight Rook Limited, through an affiliated firm, Grant Properties Limited, adding that upon acquiring the land, the owners proceeded to register the title at the Land Registry, paid all the fees and statutory charges and thereafter obtained the Governor’s Consent.

Owolabi stated that AMCON through its receiver-manager, Lanre Olaoluwa, in 2017 erected a signage on the perimeter fence of the estate indicating that it was entitled to take possession of some plots of land within the estate based on the orders of the Federal High Court made on June 16, 2016, in suit no: FHC/AB/CS/69/2016 – AMCON v Havilah Villas Limited and 10 others, and suit no: FHC/L/CS/744/2017- AMCON v Knight Rook Limited and five others.

According to the lawyer, the court order obtained by AMCON was to acquire one hectare of land in the estate, but the bad debt manager laid claim to 49 hectares.

Owolabi, who urged Federal Government to intervene and review AMCON’s conduct, noted that the action taken by the corporation was detrimental to members of the association as most of them used their savings to acquire the property.

He said, “Following an investigation, our members discovered that the said Mr Lanre Olaoluwa was purportedly appointed by AMCON as the receiver-manager of Knight Rook Limited and Grant Properties Limited to take over both companies and their assets due to their indebtedness to some banks as the debts were bought over by the corporation.

“However, further investigations conducted by our members showed that the referenced judgment did not confer ownership of their respective plots of land on AMCON; the said judgment stated that one hectare was to be seized and not 49 hectares (all the plots of land) within the estate.

“Members of the association (about 100) filed several suits right from 2016, which are still pending before the High Court of Lagos State, but we discovered that notwithstanding the pending suits, AMCON continues to sell the disputed plots and is actively encouraging the persons that it purportedly sold the plots to carry out construction work on the plots.

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“We are calling on the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government to review AMCON’s conduct by protecting the interests of Nigerians. AMCON has to answer pertinent questions; it should allow the courts to work, because it is obliged to conduct its affairs in accordance with the tenets of the law and not be seen to be taking steps that amount to flagrant disregard for court orders and due process.”

The AMCON receiver-manager, Olaoluwa, was not available to respond to our correspondent’s enquiries when contacted on the telephone.

Reacting to the allegations, AMCON in a statement by its spokesman, Jude Nwauzor, denied disobeying the order of the court, adding that its action was carried out based on the judgment delivered by the Federal High Court on October 3, 2017.

The statement read in part, “The takeover of the property known as Block B Plot 2, Victory Park Estate, Igbokushu Village, Lekki, Lagos was carried out based on the judgment delivered by the Federal High Court on October 3, 2017 in suit no: FHC/L/CS/744/2017 – Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria & five others, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal in Appeal no: CA/L/698/2018 – Rev Olajide Awosedo v Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria & five others on June 3, 2019.

“The judgement of October 3, 2017 granted the corporation powers to take over all the movable and immovable properties of Knight Rook Limited and other judgment debtors, and apply the proceeds of their disposal in the settlement of the judgment debt.

“Although Mr Mumini-Shittu filed a claim at the Lagos State High Court, no order of injunction was made against the corporation and its receiver manager in respect of Block B Plot 2 as wrongly alleged in the publication as the order of injunction made October 24, 2019, which is the subject of a pending appeal at the Supreme Court, was strictly in respect of Block B Plot 1, Victory Park Estate, Lekki, Lagos.

“Consequently, the purported recovery, which was curiously done in the absence of any sheriff of the Lagos State High Court, was illegal and the allegations of criminality made against the corporation and its receiver manager are false, baseless and defamatory.”

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