LAYI OLANREWAJU, IlorinKwara
state government yesterday told the state High Court sitting in Ilorin, the state capital that it will not tamper or do anything on the disputed late Dr Olusola Saraki’s land otherwise known as Ile Arugbo pending the determination of the case at the court.
But the claimants (Asa Investments Limited) requested for a stay of further proceedings on the matter pending the determination of an appeal it filed at the Appeal Court, Ilorin against the August 6th, 2020 ruling of the trial court.
Asa Investments Limited had in January this year secured an interim injunction restraining the state government from tampering with the property shortly after the state effected the demolition of structures on the disputed land.
The state High Court presided over by Justice Abiodun Adebara had on August 6th, this year, vacated the interim injunction granted the claimants and as well awarded costs against the claimants.
Dissatisfied, the claimants challenged Justice Adebara’s ruling at the Court ofAppeal, Ilorin Division.
The applicants in the Motion on Notice filed before the appellatecourt and dated September 4, 2020 said that Justice Adebara’s rulingof August 6, 2020 has the effect of empowering the respondents todestroy the subject matter (Ile Arugbo) of the suit.
The applicants also sought an order of the appellate court stayingproceedings in the suit on Ile Arugbo pending the hearing anddetermination of the appeal before it.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday at the state High Court,claimants counsel, Dr Akin Onigbinde (SAN) urged the court to adjournproceedings pending the determination of the appeal the claimants filed before the appellate court.
Onigbinde told the court that “I filed a letter dated September 21st, 2020 notifying the court of a pending application before the Appeal Court, Ilorin. The application is against the decision of the trial court of August 6th. The claimants are only exercising their constitutional right to appeal the decision of the trial court.
“Therefore, we humbly apply that that this matter be adjourned pendingthe determination of the case at the appeal court.”
He cited both law and judicial decisions to support his application.
Counsel to the state government, who doubles as the Attorney-General and Justice Commissioner, Salman Jawondo opposed the application for the stay of proceedings on the matter.
Jawondo said that “we align ourselves with the submission of the claimants counsel that the application filed before the Appeal Court is an exercise of the claimants constitutional right. Having said that, I will draw the court’s attention to a similar application filed by the claimants on August 13th, 2020; that application and the current one are the same. What it means is that they are abusing courtprocesses.
“As if that is not enough, the claimants also filed another application on September 9th, 2020 seeking amendment of their pleadings. September 14th, 2020 they filed another application for extension of time within which to file amendment of reply to the fifth defendant. These two are still pending.
“The question is that ‘is there any pending appeal in this matter?’ from the motion filed by the claimants before the Appeal Court and attached to the letter filed on the 21st September, 2020, there is no pending appeal in this matter. In the absence of any pending appeal all the authorities cited by the claimants counsel are irrelevant
“Surprisingly, the learned counsel to the claimants did not make referenceto our reply to their affidavit that we are not enforcing the N200,000cost awarded against them in the August 6 ruling. We said in that replythat we are not going to the said land. This appeal is a stratagem todelay this case. This request for adjournment is in bad faith and an indirect way of seeking for stay of proceedings. I urge your lordship to refuse the application and allow the case to continue.
Fifth defendant (police) counsel, Aderemi Ajibola aligned with thestate government and urged the court to refuse the application.
Presiding Judge, Abiodun Adebara reserved ruling on the applicationtill today (September 24th).