By Echeburu Oby
A landmark judgement has been passed by a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, which delivered a judgment that Nigerians who live in a residential estate cannot be forced to be a member of the Community Development Association (CDA) popularly known as residents’ association of estate.
Through this judgement, payment of levies are now charitable and imposing residents to be associates has now been declared unofficial
The court which decided to put an end to any forthcoming subjectivity of resident associations in Nigeria.
Citizens in Lagos State will no longer be exposed and forced to pay despicable membership dues and other levies. This judgement was delivered on Friday, 25th of September, 2020, by Honorable Justice Oweibo, at the Ikoyi Federal High Court of Lagos state.
Suit *(FHC/L/CS/982/2020) * was filed by Megawatts Nigeria Ltd (Applicant) through its counsel Mr. Kayode Adeniji of Lawracles LP, against the Registered Trustees of Gbagada Phase II Residents’ Association and others as respondents.
Court procedures shows that Gbagada Phase II Residents Association had been sending notifications: demanding the payment of estate dues from 2017 to 2020 for sums ranging from 300 hundred thousand to 200 thousand naira yearly, to Megawatts Nigeria Limited.
The Residents Association insisted that since Megawatts Nig. Ltd is a company which resides within the estate, it is certain to pay demanded dues and levies.
Megawatts on the other hand insisted that since it provides for its own security, waste management and other services which the estate claims to be providing, it is not compulsory to pay the said dues. In addition to the statement that Megawatts is not a member of the association.
The main issue before the court was whether a person; resident in an estate should be bound and bullied into membership of a resident association?
The Ikoyi court ruled in favour of Megawatts Nig. Ltd and granted cost against Gbagada Phase II Residents Association. The court further declared that no one should be forced to be a member of a residential association, be it a company operating within the residential estate or a person who is a resident in that estate.
The court reflected section 40 of the 1999 CFRN as Modified which states that:
“Every individual should be entitled to assemble freely and mingle with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interest.