A civil rights organisation, Save Lagos Group (SLG) has in a petition dragged four members of a prominent Lagos family before the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olufunmilayo Opeyemi Oke over an alleged attempt to corner the estate of their patriarch, Reverend A.C.I Odutuga for themselves.
In a statement released on Monday in Lagos, Convener of the Save Lagos Group, Comrade Adeniyi A. Sulaiman in the petition dated Monday 19th February, 2018 specifically accused some members of the family of attempts to shut out other descendants of the late clergyman from benefitting from proceeds of his estate.
Sulaiman has therefore asked Justice Oke and the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the State, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem to intervene in the matter in the interest of justice and fair play for those who are being primed to be shut out as beneficiaries of the vast estate.
According to Sulaiman, some members of the family namely, Mayowa Odutuga, Temitayo Odutuga, Temiyemi Odutuga and Deaconess Esther Omolara Odutuga have perfected plans to corner the proceeds from the estate while excluding others.
Sulaiman stated that the late clergyman who died on Tuesday, 18th of July, 2000 while alive had four wives and 22 children as beneficiaries of his estate but that only four people have been administering the estate without rendering proper account to other members.
He added that though there is a pending purported litigation before Justice J. Oyebanji of Court (20), Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court in suit number, (ID/56/2012) filed by Mayowa Odutuga and Deaconess Esther Omolara Odutuga and her daughter, Mrs. Ibiyemi Ajobiewe to legalise their illegal activities.
Sulaiman added that, “We members of the Save Lagos Group are calling on the two judicial members to intervene with a view to help other members of the family to enjoy the benefits of their father’s estate.
“We are indeed very sad that the case which began on 27th of January, 2012 was initially meant to resolve the issue of eligibility of beneficiaries but it has dragged on for so long thus giving those who are managing the estate some unfair advantage over the others who don’t even know how the estate is being administered.”
The group added the estate comprises of three buildings located at number 3 Oluwasiji Street, 4 and 13 Cecilia Odutuga Street both at Onikanga Area, Barliet Bus Stop, Off Oshodi-Orile-Mile 2 Expressway in Ilasamaja, Lagos.
“From our findings, we discovered that the estate also comprises of a school named Labake Memorial Nursery and Primary School and a church whose hall is being utilized for commercial purposes by the four family members who usually don’t render account to others. We have been told that the family has a large expanse of plantation located at Ogbere-Idi Egun, Ajegunle Area, (J4) Ogun State. This land is said to be about 30 acres of land.” Sulaiman said in the statement.
The group stated that two of the affected family members, Deaconess Esther O. Odutuga who is said to be the third wife of the deceased and her son Mayowa Odutuga have been harassing other members of the family with series of correspondences from their lawyers in their efforts to corner the estate.
“We have since discovered that those at the receiving end of the callous antics of these people have been subjected to all manners of harassment by the four errant members who are said to be well connected but using the security agencies to silence them when they demand for records of how the estate is being managed.
“These people have struck fear into the hearts of their kith and kin by usually resorting to using arm and ammunition to threaten them, a situation that prompted the head of the family, Pastor Abayomi O. Ademola to invite the law enforcement agents into the crisis through a petition dated 31st October, 2011 addressed to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police with copies sent to the Inspector-General of Police and Assistant Inspector-General in charge of Zone Two, Onkan.” He said.
The group added that another petition was written by a prominent elder of the family, Mrs. Temitope Oladunjoye dated 27th February 2015 to the Director of State Security Service in charge of Ogun State when the accused tried to take possession of the plantation.
“We are glad that the operatives of both the Nigeria Police Force the DSS indeed investigated the contents of the two petitions. We are happy that the then Head of the Human Rights Section of the Lagos State Police Command, Superintendent of Police Eno investigated the case with a resolve that the beneficiaries accord others their entitlements in the estate, yet they refused.
“The DSS assigned the task of reconciling the family to one operative named, Adeogun Tajudeen Olumomi (08036200563) who told them that the Director-General was interested in the case on May 28th, 2015 but still they refused to change their ways.” He said.
On the group’s concern, Sulaiman said, “The attitude of the four errant members has affected the younger members of the family who have been living in abject poverty as many of them have found it difficult to attend schools or learn vocations. One of them, Temidara Oluwajoba Odutuga (08038042536 or 07062299973) has been struggling to attend class at Lagos Centre of the University of Ado-Ekiti in Otto-Ijanikin.”
He urged the Chief Judge and the Attorney-General to quickly intervene on behalf of the affected members of the family whose livelihood is dependent on the proceeds from the estate, saying “These people are helpless and that only the state government could give them reprieve from their siblings. They are so poor that they can’t even afford the services of legal practitioners to plead their case in the law court.”
Sulaiman added that the matter is due for mention before Justice J. Oyebanji of Court (20), Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court on Tuesday and Wednesday 17th and 18th April 2018 and that there is need for the state officials to save the affected people.
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