Alleged Unlawful Land Seizure: Court Fixes July 22 for Hearing in Ex-Gen vs Lagos Suit

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By Alex Enumah

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division on Friday adjourned to July 22 for definite hearing in an N8.1 billion legal action brought against the Lagos State Government by Maj. Gen. AbdulRauf Tijjani (rtd).

Justice Ekwo adjourned to the said date following the confirmation that the parties involved in the suit have filed and exchanged necessary court processes to join issues with each other.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Justice Ekwo requested lawyers involved in the matter to brief the court on the status of his directive made on July 13 that papers relating to the suit must be filed and exchanged to pave the way for full blown hearing of the suit.

The plaintiff, Alhaji Tijjani, who stood for himself, confirmed to the court that he had filed and served his own processes on all the respondents.

Responding, Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), counsel to the Lagos State Government, the state governor and Kasheem Adeniji (SAN), a former Attorney General of the state, also confirmed to the court that all his papers in respect of the case have been filed and served on the plaintiff.

Justice Ekwo in a short ruling announced that with the conclusion of the filing and serving of all papers in the matter, the stage is set for definite hearing of the suit.

He then fixed July 22 for definite hearing and warned that any party not in court on the date will have his processes adopted by the court as required by law.

Tijjani had dragged the Lagos State Government, National Judicial Council (NJC), the Federal High Court and other respondents to court challenging the alleged injustice perpetrated against him by officials of the Lagos State Government and a serving judge of the Federal High Court.

The plaintiff is specifically challenging the alleged sabotage of the execution of a court judgment which returned his landed property in Lagos State to him.

In the fundamental human rights suit instituted in Abuja, the former army general prayed Justice Ekwo to order the Lagos State Government and the governor to pay him a cumulative compensation of N8 billion as damages for alleged injustice suffered in the hands of the state officials.

In the suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/690/2020, the plaintiff is also asking the judge to compel the NJC to pay another sum of N100 million for alleged misconduct of Justice A. O. Faji during the hearing of his matter.

In addition, the plaintiff also asked the court for an order for the trail of Justice Faji for allegedly perverting the course of justice in his case.

Besides, Tijjani is praying the court to compel the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to remove the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on Mr Kasheem Adeniji and further de-bar him for alleged act of misconduct.

In a 19-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff averred that a former Attorney General of Lagos State, Abdulraheem Ade Ipaye now Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, allegedly coveted his landed properties in Shasha-Akowonjo area in Alimosho Local Government of Lagos State to his personal gain.

He said as a result, he approached the court and got judgment in his favour on January 31, 2014.

The plaintiff however said that the judgment could not be executed because of the alleged sabotage on the part of the Lagos State officials.

The plaintiff claimed that his case got worse when his personal lawyer, Mr Adeniji (SAN), was appointed Attorney General of Lagos State and subsequently became an interested party in the matter.

He further averred that following the appointment of Adeniji as Lagos AG, he disengaged with his law firm, adding that the AG turned against him by frustrating his case.

He is therefore seeking the intervention of the court to restore justice and grant him the reliefs sought in the suit.