Ile Arugbo: Judge Refuses to Recuse Self from Suit

By Hammid Shittu

A Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin, the state capital, yesterday dismissed the application by claimants to the disputed land (Ile Arugbo) of the late Dr Olusola Saraki, Asa Investments Ltd asking the state Chief Judge Sulyman to reassign the case.

The claimants had January this year, taken the state government to court after the latter reclaimed the land allegedly unlawfully taken over by Asa Investments Ltd without any right of occupancy or payment to the owner, the state government.

Claimants lead counsel, Akin Onigbinde (SAN) had also urged the presiding judge in the matter Justice Abiodun Adebara to withdraw from the case alleging bias and impartiality.

Onigbinde said: “It is not an application against the person of the honourable court. The concern is what ordinary members of the public will feel in this circumstance. There is no ruling yet. We give the court the freedom/latitude to decide according to its discretion.”

In his about two hours ruling yesterday Justice Adebara said that “allegation against a judge is a very serious and grievous one. A case of impartiality should not be made against a judge unless there is sufficient ground to do so.

“The allegation of a likely bias against this court is misplaced vague and suspicious. I therefore that the allegation lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed.”

He then adjourned the case to February 1st and 2nd 2021 for hearing.

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