A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has been told how Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) allegedly sold a building which served as residence of two former British Colonial Governor-Generals in Nigeria, John Macpherson and Arthur Richards in Lagos to a company which later demolish it.
Sir Richards served from 1943 to 1948, while Sir John Macpherson succeeded him from 1948 to 1955. as Governor -General
Barrister Babajide Koku (SAN) counsel to Ehimome Properties Ltd, the applicant, informed the presiding Judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji, that the building situated at 27, Femi Okunnu Road (Old Cooper Road) Ikoyi, a national historical monument, was pulled down by an AMCON assignee despite pending legal tussle over its ownership.
Ehimome Properties Ltd, is seeking to set aside the “purported sale” of the property.
The applicant is also seeking an order appointing the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court as the property’s receiver/manager pending the determination of an application seeking to set aside an interim order of possession granted in favour of AMCON by Justice Nicholas Oweibo .
The applicant filed the application in suit between AMCON (Receiver/Manager ROCKSON Engineering Company Ltd) and Mr Johnson Akinola Arumemi-Ikhide, and Rockson International Group Ltd.
Mr Koku who appeared conditionally for the applicant, told the court that despite the suit pending in court, AMCON went ahead to assign the property to Otunba Yemi Saheed Lawal and/or Seagle Property Development Ltd.”
Thereafter, the assignees “and/or persons unknown demolished the property,” and were taking steps to erect a new building on the property, which had historical images that had been reserved as part of Nigeria’s historical heritage and legacy.
“On June 12, 2020, a bulldozer was mobilised to the site, No 27, Femi Okunnu Street, Ikoyi, Lagos and it cleared everything there, now they are laying the foundation for another building. This is nothing but impunity and self help,” he contended.
He urged the court to issue an order that no work should henceforth proceed on the site pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit and that the preservative order of Justice Oweibo be extended till when the suit is determined.
However, AMCON’s counsel Mrs Oladoyin Onanuga, opposed the requests on the ground that granting the order would be prejudicial to AMCON.
In his ruling, Justice Faji restrained AMCON, its buyer or any other agent or personnel from doing anything or carrying out any developments on the site pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Faji while adjourning the suit till July 3, 2020 for AMCON to come and explain its alleged self help ordered that status quo order of the court should be pasted on the walls of the property.