Lagos Court Reserves Verdict in N38m Lease Agreement
A Lagos High Court sitting in Badagry yesterday reserved judgment till January 17, in a N36.8 million suit filed by a Lagos businessman, Alhaji Azeez Ayomumoye, against the United Bank for Africa (UBA), for breach of a property lease agreement.
Justice Okikiola Ighile fixed the date after adoption of counsel’s final written addresses to the claimant and defendant, Messrs Bolaji Ramos and Collins Ogbonna.
Ayomumoye claimed that a deed of sub-lease of October 1, 2006, between him and the bank was breached on his building at Plot 15, Aina Layout, Lagos–Abeokuta Express Road at Dopemu in Lagos State.
Contrary to the deed of sub-lease, he said, the bank demolished the property and erected a structure in its place without his consent and approval.
The claimant also said upon discovery of the breach, he protested in writing to the bank, requesting compensation.
Rather, Ayomumoye said, the bank registered new documents on the property, adding that they were different from what parties signed in 2006.
In its earlier statement of defence filed by its counsel, Mr. O. U. Inneh, on September 1, 2009, the bank denied the allegations.
It said: “There were several collateral agreements between the two parties that the leased property would be demolished and re-built to meet the corporate style structure of the defendants.”
In his final written address yesterday, Ramos submitted that the deed of sub-lease had been placed before the court.
The lawyer said the bank violated the law and breached the sub-lease agreement by demolishing his client’s property without his written consent and approval.
He contended that it was settled law that no tenant can demolish and re-build a rented property without the consent and approval of the landlord.
Ramos recalled that the first written objection of the claimant was submitted to the bank in January 2007.
According to him, he could not have expressly protested the bank’s actions, if he had consented and approved of them.
Submitting his final written address, Ogbonna urged the court to dismiss the claims of the plaintiff, which he described as vexatious, irritating and an abuse of judicial process, having consented to the property demolition.
He said the claimant was aware of the demolition and the bank’s re-construction plans after the lease of the property which, he added, was originally not designed for banking operations.
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