Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
A Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin has fixed January 24 for the commencement of hearing on the case between the state government and Asa Investment Ltd over the disputed land on which the demolished Saraki family property, Ile Arugbo, was built.
Agents of the state government had in a dawn operation on January 2 demolished structures on plots of land at the Ilofa road, GRA in Ilorin, belonging to the late Second Republic Senate Leader, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki, alleging illegal acquisition.
Dissatisfied with the government’s action, the Asa Investments Limited filed a motion ex parte through its counsel, AbdulAzeez Ibrahim, for a stay of execution on the further demolition of the property.
The court accordingly restrained the defendants and anyone acting on their behalf from further demolition or further destruction of the alleged property of the claimant.
Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the Kwara State House of Assembly, the state Attorney-General and Justice Commissioner, the Director-General, Kwara Bureau of Lands, and the Inspector-General of Police are the defendants in the suit.
Earlier, counsel to Asa Investments Limited, Abdulazeez Ibrahim, had told the court that the case was for hearing on the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
He added that he had filed a motion ex parte for service on defendants/respondents on substituted means.
He also told the court that he had not been able to serve the fifth respondent (IGP), saying that the “first to the fourth respondents had been served and they responded too. But the fifth responded has not been personally served.”
He stated that the “motion on notice was dated and filed 13th and 14th January 2020.
“The application for the motion ex parte is supported by [a] seven-paragraph[s] affidavit deposed to by one Ayo Ibrahim. We rely on all the averments therein. We also filed a written address in support of the affidavit. I pray the court to grant the order so that we can make progress.”
Pending the time all the court processes would have been served the fifth respondent, Ibrahim said: “We are applying orally for the court to order all the parties to maintain status quo in the interest of peace and justice as well as an extension of tenure of the interlocutory injunction.”
In his reply, state Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Salman Jawondo, said with respect to the motion on substituted service, “we can only be seen but not heard.”
He added that “we are opposed to the application of tenure extension of the interlocutory injunction or whatever name it is called. The application is also an invitation to chaos as the case has attracted much heat and attention even beyond its content.”
Ruling on the motion ex parte for substituted service to the fifth respondent, presiding judge Justice A A Adebara granted the application.
“In this application, attempts at personal service to the fifth respondent met the rock. I am satisfied that the service be made by pasting court processes on the notice board in the premises of the
Kwara State Police Command, Ilorin, Kwara State,” he said.
Declining to make an express statement on the application for tenure elongation of the interlocutory injunction, Justice Adebara urged all the parties in the case to maintain their calm and seek for peaceful resolution of the issue.
He said: “The first paramount thing for this court is to encourage all parties to settle the case amicably out of court; nothing is impossible. Settlement out of court is never too late to explore. I want the two sides to believe that by the special grace of God peace will prevail. I am appealing to the two sides that there should be a mutual understanding.”