Supreme Court dismisses FG’s suit challenging Lagos land policy
The Supreme in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by the Federal Government challenging the Land Regularisation Policy of the Lagos State Government. The apex court in a ruling, Friday, upheld the preliminary objection filed by the State Government to contest the legality of the suit.
Lagos State Government had specified the process of ratifying the title of holders of Certificates of Occupancy said to have been obtained from the Federal Government. But the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) represented by Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), had in a suit with reference number SC/50/ 2011, invoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to challenge provisions of the policy.
While arguing the case, Agbakoba had cited particular properties where title holders were required by Lagos State to pay certain amount as “Ratification” of their title before any other transactions can be permitted on such land.
The office of the State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, also argued that the AGF lacked the locus to file the action on behalf of the Federation against the State Government on account of the fact that the matter in dispute was between Federal Government and the Lagos State Government.
After considering arguments for and against the suit, the Supreme Court in its ruling delivered by Justice Clara Ogunbiyi held that although it did not agree that it could not entertain the matter in its original jurisdiction, the FG had divested itself of the titles to properties which were subject of the suit and therefore had no locus to bring the action.
The preliminary objection of the State Government was therefore upheld and the suit dismissed. By the decision, the Supreme Court has now laid the dispute to final rest.