Town planners comply with court order, measure bank’s building in Braithwaite’s suit

Tunji Braithwaite

Tunji Braithwaite

IN compliance with the orders of Justice Doris Okuwobi of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, the physical measurement of the setback and airspace of Standard Chartered Bank’s 14-storey structure constructed opposite the residence of the elderstatesman, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, was yesterday undertaken by town planning experts.

Braithwaite is challenging the erection of such structure opposite his residence. He insisted that the structure is illegal, giving that the permit used in building it is not genuine. He is therefore asking the court to order for the demolition of the structure among other prayers.

The court had granted the claimant’s (Braithwaite) application, praying for an order for a physical measurement of the controversial structure to ascertain his averment that the structure violates the Environmental Impact Assessment laws.

Counsel for the defendant, Adeniyi Adegbonmire (SAN), did not oppose the application. As a result, Okuwobi had ruled: “Leave be and is hereby granted the claimant/applicant for an order directing the President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners to enter the defendant’s commercial building of 14floors comprising a five level car park at No. 142 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria, Island, Lagos, the subject matter of this suit in the presence of the parties herein and/or their counsel to undertake physical measurement of the setback and airspace of the said defendant’s building.”

The court also ordered that the president of the Institute of Town Planners should prepare a comprehensive report of his findings and measurement, which shall be produced to the court as part of its record at the trial and must also be available for cross-examination.

Witnessing the exercise, which was undertaken by the Town Planners, were representatives of both parties. Apart from the claimant, some of his other witnesses include Olumide Braithwaite, Ebun Braithwaite, Prof. Dayo Amokaye, Prof. Olaniyi Okedele and Mr. Olaitan Ajose-Adeogun.
The bank (defendant) was represented by its counsel, Adegbonmire, its head, legal and company secretary, Seye Kosoko, its expert witness, Mr. Gbenga Akinmoladun, as well as few other members of staff.

The claimant in his endorsements is asking that the ‘illegal’structure, which is also damaging to him, be pulled down.
“A declaration that the construction by the defendant of a 14-floor building and a five level car park on the site situate lying and being at No. 142 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island/ Plot 142 abutting Elias Close, Victoria Island, Lagos, is unlawful and damaging to the rights of the claimant.
“A declaration that the said commercial building, now at floor No. 10 as at the date hereof constitutes and it is an illegal structure.

A declaration that notwithstanding the defendant’s illegal development permit, the said commercial building constitutes a nuisance and an unlawful obliteration of the claimant’s easement to light, air and linkages – the rights of the claimant – for over 40 years.
“An order that the illegal structure referred to be demolished and pulled down by the defendant at its cost. General damages in the sum of N10billion for the nuisance caused and inflicted on the claimant by the defendant over a period of years,” he also prayed.

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