Businessman files N500m suit against estate developer over breach of contract

A N500 million suit has been filed by a businessman, Alhaji Abdullahi Olayemi and his company, OK Properties Limited against an estate developer, Mr Owolabi Kolawole Balogun and his company before the Lagos State High Court over allegations of breach of fundamental human rights and breach of contract.

The claimants are asking for an order of court given effect to Olayemi’s rights of occupancy as enshrined in the Certificate of Occupancy Registered and issued in his favour in respect of expanse of land situate at Models Village, Olajuwon Street, Surulere area of Lagos State and an order compelling the defendants to allow him and his agents have unhindered and undisturbed access to the land covered by Certificate of Occupancy registered as No 96A at page 96A and in volume 2011 issued in his favour in Surulere local government area of Lagos State.

Joined as co-defendants in the suit where he further he prayed for an order awarding general damages of N500 million against the defendants are Owolabi Kolawole Balogun, Coinbox Multipurpose Cooperating Society Ltd and Tranquil Solution Limited.

The defendants through their lawyer, Saint Louis Partners in their defense accused the claimant of breaching the terms of the contract.  Specifically, they said the claimants, particularly, the first claimant, “wrote a letter to the financier of the said project, instructing the financier not to disburse fund to our clients, thereby impending the progress of the project where time is of essence.” They argued further that the claimant raised, “baseless claims of rights not specifically provided in the contractual terms.” 

However, the claimants in the suit by their counsel, Tijani Ishola & Co prayed the court among other things to determine whether by virtue, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between them and defendants is enforceable having regards to clauses contained therein for the protection of the right of parties.

The claimants prayed the court to determine whether the breach of the MOU by the defendants without due regards to relevant clauses can be entertained by the court initiated by the claimants. Besides, claimants urged the court to determine whether seeking a legal redress is justifiable against the threats to first claimant’s life, which emanated from “flagrant breaches of the MOU by the defendants which inimical to the interest of the claimants.”

The suit is hinged on the allegation that a breach of contract came up between the parties after the claimants accused the defendants of “sidelining the claimants to illegally take over the land without due regards to the existing agreement.”

The first claimant who argued he brought in the defendants to develop the expanse of land into an estate when he couldn’t raise fund, said he was shocked that rather than follow the agreement reached by parties, the defendants were having meetings with other parties in order to illegally take over the land from him.

According to him, after his discovery of the improprieties from the defendants he challenged the first defendant (Kolawole Balogun) who subsequently sought a peace meeting, which he couldn’t attend but was surprised when Balogun allegedly came to his office to physically assault him.

The claimant said the matter was reported at the police station, where they were advised to settle amicably, and he “agreed to the sharing formula of 22 housing units to the claimants as against the 28 housing units previously agreed to both the claimants and Defendants.”

He further averred that in an unrelenting attempt to take over the entire land, “the first defendant started threatening the first claimant that he will revoke the contract duly executed and take over the contract, alleging the claimants are in breach of the contractual agreement and that the first defendant will use the political weight he had with prominent people to fight him.

The claimant averred that all steps taken to settle the matter out of court failed noted that, “the first defendant has continued his threat and has sacked all staff employed by the claimants who are working at the site where development is going on.”

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