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Family accuses police of obstructing justice over Lagos property

According to The Nation, the family of a former Head of Service in Lagos, the late Mr. C.O. Bajulaiye, has accused the police of denying its members access to their late father’s house in spite of a court judgment authorising them to take over their Lagos property.

The family had approached the Lagos Magistrates Court in a bid to recover the property from a tenant, a company.

On May 8, the court ordered the company to give up possession of the property made up of a five-bedroom detached house, a two-bedroom guest chalet, and three-room boys quarters on or before May 10.

The company was also ordered to pay a “mesne profit” at the rate of N3million on the property located on 8, Agoro Odiyan Street, off Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island.

However, the family, in a petition to the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Mr Fatai Owoseni, accused the police of frustrating the enforcement of the judgment.

The third son of the late Bajulaiye, Segun, said the family, through the court’s Bailiffs, duly executed the judgment, took possession of the property and placed five security men to guard the property after the bailiff took inventory of the things they met in the compound.

Bajulaiye said they were shocked when policemen from the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti stormed the property and arrested the guards.

“They brought along thugs armed with dangerous weapons and sealed up the property, denying us access,” Bajulaiye said.

The family added in the petition: “Senior Police officers led by DCP Salami and CSP Asuquo both of Panti, SCID, dislodged us from taking possession and arrested and detained our security guards.”

Bajulaiye said inscriptions made by the Bailiff on the walls to indicate that possession had been taken were also wiped off, adding that the company’s application for stay of execution of the judgment was earlier dismissed.

Besides, the family’s lawyers are contending that even if there was an appeal, which they said was not the case, it does not operate as a stay of execution, nor was it also the place of Police officers to pronounce the process of a competent court as unlawful and to supplant them from possession with police might under any guise.

Bajulaiye said Owoseni, in response to their petition, directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, SCID Panti, Bolaji Salami, to ensure that there was no one occupying the house, yet the order was not carried out.

But, the Police claimed that the family took possession of the house illegally, claiming that the Bailiff executed the order without autorisation from the force.

The Police also claimed that there was an appeal on the judgment, and that it was investigating the circumstances in which the execution was carried out.

However, the family’s lawyers have sent a Freedom of Information request to the police, demanding a report of investigation and its reasons for denying them access to the property.

Source: The Nation

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