Federal Court Restores Ikoyi Building to Associated Property Development, Police Ordered Out - The Trent

2023-07-29 15:32:00

The Trent

LAGOS, Nigeria - A Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the Inspector General of Police and his officers to vacate Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos building.

The court further ruled that ownership of the building be returned to Associated Property Development Company Limited.

Justice Daniel Osiagor, the presiding judge, issued the order on Thursday, July 27, 2023, in response to a lawsuit filed by Associated Property Development.

The suit named the Federal Ministry of Communication and Technology, Otunba Olusola Adekanola, Nigeria Telecommunications Limited, Federal Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Implementation Committee on Alienation of Federal Government property, and the Attorney-General of the Federation as respondents.

The suit arose from allegations that the plaintiff's private property was invaded and subsequently sealed off by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

In a previous ruling on May 23, 2023, the court instructed the involved parties to maintain the status quo.

However, allegations emerged that one of the respondents had used police force to invade the property and assert possession. This act contravened the court's earlier directive and prompted this recent ruling.

The court further decreed a seven-day deadline for the Bureau of Public Enterprises and Otunba Olushola Adekanola to file affidavits of fact.

According to the court's order, these documents should confirm their withdrawal from the premises.

The court also demanded an undertaking from these respondents, stating they will not attempt to access the property's premises while the legal proceedings are ongoing.

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, rejected an application from the Department of State Services, DSS, seeking to detain Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank, for an additional 14 days.

The application, marked FCT/HC/M/12105/2023, was presented before Justice Hamza Muazu by the DSS, claiming the discovery of new evidence necessitating the extension of Emefiele's detention.

However, Justice Muazu dismissed the application as an abuse of court process and ruled it lacking in jurisdiction.

This decision was reached during a hearing quietly filed by the agency's lawyers on Thuesday, July 26, 2023, and subsequently heard by the vacation judge today.

Upon questioning the court's jurisdiction in light of Sections 293 and 296 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which grant exclusive rights to the Magistrates' Court to issue detention orders, DSS's counsel, Victor Ejelonu, retracted the request.

Justice Muazu voiced his concerns about the application's validity: "Given the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, it's clear this court doesn't hold the jurisdiction to extend detention orders in this manner," he said. "This application is, therefore, dismissed as an abuse of court process."

As a result, the Department of State Services' bid to keep the suspended Governor under extended detention has been effectively thwarted, underscoring the principle of procedural integrity in the Nigerian justice system.

This ruling marks the latest development in the ongoing legal saga involving Emefiele, whose future as the Governor of the Central Bank continues to hang in the balance.

The coming weeks are sure to bring more twists as the case unfolds.

2023-07-29 News