- Judge admonishes parties on amicable resolution
BY SEGUN ADEBAYO – The Kwara State High Court has fixed January 24, 2020, for the commencement of legal fireworks between the State government and Asa Investment Limited over the demolition of some properties belonging to the late Dr Olusola Saraki.
This is as the Presiding Judge, Justice A. A. Adebara has encouraged the warring parties to embrace an amicable out-of-court settlement of the matter.
The contentious property, popularly called ‘Ile Arugbo’ and situated on Ilofa Road, Ilorin GRA, is alleged to have been illegally acquired by the late strongman of Kwara politics.
In early January, the state government had through some of its agents commenced demolition of properties on the land, a development that drew the ire of former Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Saraki family, leading to their filling a motion ex parte through counsel, AbdulAzeez Ibrahim, for stay of execution at the court.
The court, sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital to hear the suit, however restrained the defendants and anyone else acting on their behalf from further demolishing or destroying the alleged property of the claimants.
Defendants in the suit are the State
Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; the House of Assembly; Attorney General and Justice Commissioner; Director-General of Kwara Bureau of Lands; and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu
The Sarakis’ counsel, Ibrahim informed on Wednesday the court that the case was for hearing on motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
He explained that a motion ex parte for service on the defendants/respondents by substituted means has been filed before the Court, adding that it has been difficult to serve the fifth respondent, IGP Adamu
Ibrahim told the Court that the “first to the fourth respondents had been served and they responded too. But the fifth responded has not been personally served”.
He said the “motion on notice was dated and filed on January 13 and 14. The application for the motion ex parte is supported by a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed to by 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”.
The counsel further pleaded that pending the time the court processes would have been served the fifth respondent, “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 submission, the Kwara State Commissioner for Justice, Salman Jawondo said with respect to the motion on substituted service, “we can only be seen but not heard”.
According to him, “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 attracted much heat and attention, even beyond its content.”
Ruling on the motion ex parte for substituted service to the fifth respondent, Justice A. A. Adebara granted the application saying; “In this application, attempts at personal service to the fifth respondent hit 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.”
He however declined to make express statement on the application for tenure elongation of the interlocutory injunction, urging the warring parties to remain calm and rather seek ways of resolving the matter amicably and out of court.
“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”, he admonished both parties.
The judge therefore adjourned the matter till Friday, January 24 for hearing. – With agency report