Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
A Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin thursday fixed January 24 for commencement of proper hearing on the case between the state government and Asa Investment Limited over the disputed land housing the demolished Ile Arugbo.
Agents of the state government had in a dawn operation on January 2 demolished some structures on the plots of land at the Ilofa Road, GRA Ilorin, belonging to the late Second Republic Senate Leader, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, over allegiations of illegal acquisition.
Dissatisfied with the government’s action, Asa Investments Limited filed a ex-parte motion 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 demolishing or further destroying the alleged property of the claimant.
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the House of Assembly, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the Director General, Kwara State Bureau of Lands and the Inspector General of Police are the defendants in the suit.
Earlier, Ibrahim told the court that the case was for hearing on motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
He added that he had filed ex-parte motion for service on defendants/respondents on substituted means.
The counsel told the court that he had not been able to serve the fifth respondent (IGP), but said the “first to the fourth respondents had been served and they responded too. But the fifth responded has not been personally served.”
He added that the “motion on notice was dated and filed on January 13 and 14.
“The application for the ex-parte motion is supported by seven-paragraph 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,” he said.
Pending the time all the court processes would be served to 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, Kwara State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Salman Jawondo, said with respect to 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 ex-parte motion 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 Kwara State Police Command in Ilorin, Kwara State,” he said.
Declining to make 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 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.”