Court Dismisses Binding Over Suit Against Monarch

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A Yaba Chief Magistrate’s Court has dismissed a suit instituted by a Lagos Chief, F.A. Olorunlogbon and nine others, against the Ojora of Ijora Kingdom, Oba Fatai Aromire.

In the said suit, the applicants alleged that the monarch had engaged in an act of harassment, intimidation and threat to eject and lock up the premises of the chief and those of nine other tenants namely Femi Adeyemi, Emiloju Abel, Ogunbanwo Karimu Owoola, Lanwon Azazi, Ekeja Jude, I.K. Igawelo, Ekechi Victor and Rev. Chidi Chimezie, who reside lawfully, thereby engaging in acts for which they sought the order of the court to bind the monarch over.

However, in a response filed before the court on behalf of Oba Ojora Fatai Aromire by a Lagos lawyer, Adeola Adeleke, the monarch alleged that he was acting in consonance with the Supreme Court judgement which gave him the right to take possession of the premises.

Looking at the applicants’ case before the court, the presiding magistrate, Mr. A.O. Isaac said the summary of the fact presented as act of the respondent for which they want the court to bind them over are as follows:

•That the respondents have been harassing Chief Olorunlogbon who is the owner of the premises in contention and the other applicants who are tenants in the premises with ejection threats if he refused to purchase the premises from them.

•That eventually, the respondent, with the aid of policemen, locked up the premises and carted away the keys, thereby preventing the applicants from gaining entrance.

It is upon these acts that the applicants went the court to bind the respondent over.

When they reacted through their counsel, Mr. Adeola Adeleke, by filling a counter affidavit to show cause, they deposed to the following facts:

•That they have never acted illegally as all their activities were covered by the Supreme Court judgment in suit SC/54/2005, which was the culmination of an appeal which gave their family possession of the whole land including the premises whereof the applicants resided.

•The respondents had after series of other successes a litigation on the said judgment, issued out warrant of possession and Form O Certificate of its execution dated 13 July, 2009 and 11 August, 2009,.

The magistrate further said that “interestingly, these facts of the respondents were not contradicted by the applicants, rather they responded by deposing to further facts that the respondent had been harassing them with members of Odua People’s Congress (OPC). Consequently, in answer to the question raised earlier as to whether the act of the respondent complained of is wrong and capable of causing a breach of the peace is no, as the applicants have conceded that the respondent had acted within the judgment of the Supreme Court and the warrant of execution.

“Therefore, this made the act of the respondent for locking up the premises right and not wrong.

Furthermore, the applicant alleged that the respondent not only locked up their premises but also those of others in the Orile environment but surprisingly, there was no evidence of likelihood of breach of the peace by the reaction of the entire community including the applicants. Therefore there is no proof of any wrongful act by the respondent occasioning breach of the peace.”

Consequently, Chief Magistrate Isaac added that “in totality and from all the analysis, I hold that the applicants have failed to prove to this court that the respondent engaged in wrongful activity capable of occasioning breach of the peace and therefore, they are hereby discharged of the complaint on oath of the applicants.

Consequently, the entire suit is hereby dismissed.

Dragged before the Magistrate’s Court alongside the monarch as respondent is one Amuda Yusuf.