Subscribers drag Abuja estate developer, Olafisoye, others to court, demand N1.1bn over alleged contract breach


Subscribers of the Nelson Mandela Gardens Estate project in Abuja have dragged the developer of the estate, Otunba Adebiyi Olafisoye and A & G Estate Development Company Limited, before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over an alleged breach of contractual agreement.

The aggrieved subscribers are asking the Abuja High Court to compel Olafisoye and A & G Estate Development Company Limited to pay them a whopping sum of N1.10 billion in damages due to the alleged contract breach.

Sued along with Olafisoye and A & G Estate Ltd is the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) described as the original owner of the land, which it sub-leased to the property development firm and on which the estate is built.

In the suit marked: CV/328/2022 filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Mr Ibrahim Idris, the subscribers, who sued through six of their representatives, accused Olafisoye and A & G Estate Ltd of breaching the terms and conditions contained in the letters of offer issued to them.

They contended that Olafisoye and A & G Estate have refused to keep their promise to provide necessary facilities in the estate, declined to execute deeds of sub-lease of the unexpired terms granted A & G Estate Ltd by the African University of Science and Technology and had attempted to alter the name of the estate.

Listed as claimants are Mrs. A. N. Ijadunola, Alhaji Yusuf Yahaya, Mr. John Mshelia, Mr. Gabriel Afolabi, Mr. Akeem Atanda, Mr. Festus Ojekhephen and the Registered Trustees of Nelson Mandela Gardens Residents Association, Abuja.

In their statement of claim, the claimants described Olafisoye, who they claimed owns A & G Insurance Plc, as an individual with “an unimpressive and sordid track records in his business or commercial dealings”.

They claimed to have subscribed to the estate project between 2013 and 2019 and that soon after they “entered into the contractual relationship with the 2nd defendant (A & G Estate Ltd) they realized that they had been sold a dummy by the defendants, as the defendants, in a most bizarre manner, kept frustrating the claimants.”

They claimed to have complied with the terms and conditions contained in their various letters of offer by, amongst others, paying fully for the various allocated houses.

The claimants stated that the 2nd defendant, in alleged connivance with the 1st defendant (Olafisoye), failed to abide by the terms and conditions contained in the said letters of Offer.

They further stated that after receiving from them full payments in respect of the various allocated units of houses, the 2nd defendant unapologetically declined to provide any of the facilities or amenities it promised to provide in the estate.

The claimants added that part of the effects of the alleged continuous and unjustified refusal of the 2nd defendant to provide essential social facilities it promised has exposed their lives, those of their families and their properties to great risk and jeopardy.

They stated that to date, the exact tenor or term of the lease, donated to them by the 2nd defendant, has been kept away from them because the 2nd and 3rd defendants have been unwilling to disclose “the accurate tenor in the head lease and by extension, the sub-lease between the 2nd and 3rd defendants.”

They want the court to, among others, compel A & G Estate Ltd “to forthwith make available to the claimants, their various and respective duly executed deeds of sub-lease of the unexpired term granted to the 2nd defendant by the 3rd defendant in respect of Nelson Mandela Gardens Estate situate at Industrial Area II, Abuja.”

They are also seeking an injunction restraining the property owner from changing the name of the estate to Steamwood Garden and to desist from collecting any form of money from the claimants under the guise that it would be used for development purposes.

They are claiming N1 billion in damages and N10 million as the cost of prosecuting the suit.

The defendants have, however, denied the claimants’ claims, insisting that they did nothing wrong.

In their joint statement of defence, Olafisoye and A & G Estate Ltd claimed to have provided many facilities but that their plan to do more was hampered by the alleged inability of some of the subscribers to pay for their houses fully.

AUST, in its statement of defence, stated that it was not privy to the contractual agreement between the claimants and the 2nd defendant. It blamed the subscribers for not exercising due diligence before subscribing to the project.

The 3rd defendant also queried the competence of the suit, arguing, among others, that it amounted to an abuse of the court process and that it was caught by the statute of limitation.

Meanwhile, Justice Modupe Osho- Adebiyi has fixed April 26 for hearing into the suit.

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