An Igbosere High Court has fixed Feb. 7 for the adoption of final written addresses in a case of a N45 million property dispute, involving a top Lagos State civil servant, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyitolu.
Oke-Osanyitolu, Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and his former lover, Ms Olaide Ibraheem are in court over ownership of the plum property.
The property is located at No. 1, Baba Yusuf Close, Alausa, Lagos and allegedly belongs to Oke-Sanyitolu.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye fixed the date on Friday after hearing submissions from the Defence Counsel, Mr Adeoye Asaolu and Mr Akin George, the lead state prosecutor.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ibraheem, also a top civil servant in the Lagos State Government, is the Director, Admin and Human Resources in the Lagos State Office of Civic Engagement.
She was arraigned on May 22, 2017 and faces a three-count charge of forgery, forcible entry and criminal damage to the property, which allegedly belongs to Oke-Sanyitolu.
During the trial, four witnesses, including Oke-Osanyitolu, his personal assistant and a signature expert, testified for the prosecution.
Six witnesses, including Ibraheem, a surveyor and a police officer testified on behalf of the defence.
NAN reports that Oke-Osanyitolu in his testimony told the court that he and the defendant were former lovers and top civil servants working for the Lagos State Government.
He said that during the course of their relationship, he needed accommodation for his ailing mother and had sought Ibraheem’s help in getting accommodation.
Oke-Sanyitolu said the defendant negotiated the purchase of the property on his behalf for N45 million from the former owner, one Baba Yusuf in Kano.
The LASEMA D-G told the court that he had made instalmental payments for the property via Mr Luqman Salami, his personal assistant and that he paid a balance of N1. 5 million the day the Deed of Assignment was signed.
“Five people, including the defendant, were present when the Deed was signed but only four persons- myself, the owner of the property, Baba Yusuf, his son Musa Yusuf and Salami, my personal assistant signed the document.’’
According to Oke-Sanyitolu, following the breakdown of their relationship, the defendant in order to unlawfully lay claim to the property, had fraudulently made another Deed of Assignment and had forged his signature on the fake document.
He said that Ibraheem, with the aid of hoodlums, had also unlawfully broken into and taken possession of the property.
The LASEMA chief noted that when he reported his ex-lover’s actions to the authorities, she threatened his life and said she will show him “the power of women’’.
Ibraheem, while testifying in her defence, said the property belonged to her.
She said that when she wanted to buy the property, she visited Baba Musa, the former owner of the property in Kano.
“However, he had said that due to religious reasons, he could not sell the property to a woman, unless she came with her spouse.’’
Ibraheem said that obliging the requests of Baba Musa, Oke-Sanyitolu had accompanied her to buy the property.
The defendant in her version of events said that four persons– herself, the owner of the property, his son and Oke-Sanyitolu signed the Deed of Assignment while Salami, Oke-Sanyitolu’s personal assistant was a witness.
She said that after the end of their relationship, she got wind of the fact that Oke-Sanyitolu had procured another Deed of Assignment for the property.
Ibraheem noted that the new Deed did not contain her signature and that he was trying to register the new Deed at the Lagos State Ministry of Lands.
The director denied taking over the property illegally from the complainant.
According to the prosecution, Ibraheem allegedly committed the offences in September, 2015 at the disputed property, located at No. 1, Baba Yusuf Close, Alausa.
“On Sept. 21, 2015, the defendant forged a Deed of Assignment belonging to Dr Oke-Osanyitolu with the intent that it be acted upon as genuine.
“Sometime in May 2015, Ibraheem forcefully entered the property, which was in actual and peaceful possession of the complainant (Oke-Osanyitolu).
“She damaged the structure on the land without the consent of Oke-Osanyitolu,’’ George said.
The offences contravene Sections 52, 339 and 365(3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015. (NAN)