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N58.9billion Loan Dispute: Judge Advise Parties To Reconcile

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Justice Mohammed Liman, of a Federal High Court in Lagos has advised the lawyers to parties in N58.9billion loan dispute between Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited (POON), its affiliate companies and Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to work through the process of settlement and take interest of parties into consideration.

Justice Liman gave this advise when the parties appears before him and reported that they have not been able to agree on terms of settling out of court.

The judge who noted that the actions of the receiver may affect the fiscal policy of the country stated that It is not for the court to set criteria for parties, on how to resolve the disputes.

Justice Liman therefore adjourned to October 13, for the report of settlement.

The judge however noted that if parties did not settle during vacation, they were at liberty to approach the vacation judge to argue any issue that they considered urgent or important.

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During the proceedings, Lead counsel for the firms, OAR Ogunde (SAN) and his AMCON counterpart, Kunle Ogunba (SAN) told the court of the development at the last hearing.

Mr Ogunde, SAN told the court that he has not gotten any feedback that the matter has been settled and therefore intend to proceed with his motion, adding that the claimant/respondent had not shown any concrete step towards settlement.

He informed the court that the order obtained by AMCON was executed against third parties, who had been sent out of the sealed properties.

“If the claimant can be restricted, then this will encourage us to wait for settlement because they are expensive buildings and can attract thieves if left unoccupied,” he submitted.

Mr Ogunde SAN also stated that the liability of third parties would affect his clients and request for an undertaking that would allow them to regain possession of their respective properties.

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In his response, Mr Ogunba, SAN said that the interest of his client should not be jeopardised in the process.

“The decision with respect to the proposal on a settlement cannot be taken in a day. It needs time. If third parties are aggrieved, they know what to do.

“The defendant has a legion of companies, which they operate. We have put a system in place to attend to affected third parties.

“One of them is Saipem Contracting Nig Ltd, who wants to leave and we have instructed them to write to us,” Ogunba, said.

After listening to both counsel, Justice Liman stated that it was improper to drive tenants out and then begin to listen to them.

“It is a bullet approach which is wrong. Once possession is taken, you serve tenants notice and not to drive them out,” he said, adding that there was no justification for AMCON’s action.

He held that the tenants should be allowed to enjoy their tenancies with the option to retain or renew a tenancy, maintaining that third parties should not be prejudicially affected.

Counsel for one of the tenants, Saipem, Mr Olugbenga Onalaja informed the court that he had written to Ogunba (SAN), seeking to be allowed to go into the property to take out its assets since its tenancy had expired.

The court, therefore, struck out the notice of claim filed by Saipem, saying that it had been overtaken by events.

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The judge also discharged all the banks that filed an affidavit indicating that the firms had no account with them.

However, Ogunde SAN, informed the court that its ex-parte order was harming the defendants.

“Our application is ripe for hearing. All the accounts of defendants have been frozen, even accounts of POON, Beam and Trensix on which the orders of court executed in this suit did not cover.

He further stated that his client’s operations of crude oil was been hampered. That up till that day, the defendants had no access to one dollar as all monies went into an account controlled by AMCON and the banks.

“If things are not managed well, oil and gas production will cease. We have been paying despite being in court. How can we continue to pay when the account has been frozen?

“These issues are mitigating against the settlement. There was no point freezing the accounts. People who should be paid are not paid as a result”, he declared.

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Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and he is the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

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BUSINESS

Market Demolition: Court Threatens Lagos AG, Kosofe LG Chairman Over Contempt

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A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, has warned the state government and others against their defiant to a valid court order stopping them from further action on demolition of 795 shops in Alaba section of Mile 12 market.

Justice Lateefat Atinuke Oluyemi had on January 11, 2023 ordered parties in the suit filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Orirere Commodity Leaders and Traders Association to maintain status quo ante, restraining respondents from further action on the land.

The plaintiff aside Incorporated Trustees of Orirere Commodity Leaders and Traders Association are: Yeye Precious Modupe Ojo, Alhaji Akinwale Jimoh and Babatunde Adetula instituted the suit against the Lagos State government.

The defendants in the suit are Kosofe Local Government/Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area, Dr. Chris Onyekachi; Total Value Integrated Services Limited, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,

Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development as first to fifth respondents respectively.

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However, at the resumed hearing, Mr. Gbolahan Quadri informed the court that, despite the subsisting order, the respondents were still constructing on the land known has Alaba Section, Mile 12 Market, Ikosi-Isheri.

His submission made Justice Oluyemi give a very strong warnings to the respondents to desist from disobeying court order, while threatening to commit anyone who violates the courts order to prison.

A lawyer who appeared for respondent prayed the court to give them time to file necessary applications and their response to the suit.

The judge subsequently adjourned to March 30, 2023 to enable the defence to file necessary applications.

Meanwhile, the traders and owners of 795 demolished shops throngs court in hundreds, protesting against the Lagos State government and it’s agent alleged flouting an order of court restraining them from further demolition.

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They alleged that three traders have died in less than one week, following the decision of the Lagos State Government to intensify demolition of the shops.

Speaking with the newsmen after the proceedings at the high court premises, the market leader, Yeye Modupe Ojo said three traders, Mujidat Suleiman, Adejoke Olawole and Ademola died as a result of shock, noted that the deceased children are with them in the struggle.

Ojo disclosed that, last year October 26, 2022, a notice of contravention was pasted, notifying them that the Lagos State Government will commenced demolition, two days after the notice.

She said they approached the court for justice when the Iyaloja General of Lagos State, Mrs. Iyabo Ojo refused to plead on their behalf but urged them to collect forms and make payment for the new structure.

“Now, am in court to seek justice for these poor people, despite the interim injunction, they are working there with over 200 thugs and policemen.”

She added that the traders want the govt to stop demolition. “We should sit on round table to talk and compensate our people. We welcome innovation, we don’t want war.”

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Also speaking, a leader in the electronic section, Mr. Titus Ezeugo, a 70 year-old man, said the land was allocated to them by the Lagos State Government and that they developed the market with their personal money.

He said they have documents of allocation with receipt of payment, adding that the Lagos state government should tell them what type of structure they want now and they will restructure to that effect.

According to him, the market was not built by government but by private developers.

He said that since the market was built, the traders have been making payment to government and that some of those who collected loans have not been able to offset the loans.

Ezeugo further said the market was approved by the Lagos State Government. He said what will he and his family live on now that he is at retirement age and he is calling for justice.

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Court Restrains Parties From Tampering With Controversial Mile 12 Market

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The High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja, has issued an order of interim injunction, restraining Kosofe Local Government; Ikosi/Isheri Local Council Development Area; Dr. Chris Onyekachi; Total Value Integrated Services Limited; Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State; and Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development from entering or forcefully taking over the land known as Alaba Section of Mile 12 Market, Kosofe area, pending the determination of a Motion on Notice already before it.

The Motion on Notice was initiated by the claimants/applicants namely; Incorporated Trustees of Orirere Community Leaders and Traders Association, Yeye Precious Modupe Ojo, Alhaji Akinwale Jimoh, and Babatunde Adetula (suing for themselves and on behalf of the traders from the Alaba section of Mile 12 market).

The court presided over by Justice (Mrs.) L.A.F Oluyemi also gave an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants/respondents by themselves, their agents, servants, privies, and/or any other person howsoever described from demolishing or forcefully taking over the land known as Alaba Section of Mile 12 Market, Kosofe, Lagos, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

Also given by the judge in the suit designated ID/6464GCMW/2022, and brought pursuant to Order 42 Rules 1 and 4 and Order 43 of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019, Section 1 of the Preemptive Remedies Section of the Practice Direction, No 2 of 2019, and under Section 34, Section 36 and Section 43 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants/respondents by themselves, their agents, servants, privies, and/or any other person howsoever described from building on the land known as Alaba Section of Mile 12 Market, Kosofe Lagos, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

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Justice Oluyemi on January 11, 2023, further made an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants/respondents by themselves, their agents, servants, privies, and/or any other person howsoever described from letting out the land known as Alaba Section of Mile 12 Market, Kosofe Lagos, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

Prior to the injunction order, It was learned that on the 18th of December 2022, the respondents continued with the demolition of the said Market, despite service of court processes and prior agreement by all parties in the office of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, held on 17th December 2022 to stay action till the Meeting fixed for the 19th December 2022.

On the 19th day of December, the second meeting was held. All parties who attended the previous meeting also attended this one.

However, In this meeting, Counsel to the applicant, M.G. QUADRI Esq of G.kolawole Quadri & Co was refused entry and chased out by Princess Samiat Abolanle Bada (The Chairman of the Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area).

The Respondents orally promised the Applicants to begin some sort of resolution process and to stop the further destruction of the Market.

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But despite the promises given, the destruction of properties and assault on helpless traders by heavily armed thugs has not stopped, it has only increased exponentially.

From the time the motion on Notice was filed up until now, more parts of the Alaba Section of the Mile 12 Market have been destroyed and demolished.

Traders have been forced away from their shops and thugs have been patrolling the area, assaulting anyone that comes close.

The matter has been adjourned to the 19th of January 2023.

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Court Restrain UPDC Plc From Acting Over a Disputed Land

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Justice Olufunke Sule-Amzat of a Lagos High Court sitting in Yaba has ordered a firm, UPDC Plc to maintain status quo in a suit filed against him by Oluwafemi Ayodele over the portion of the land area covered by the piles, along Bishop Aboyade Cole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The court order of staying action on the land was sequel to an application filed before the court by claimant counsel, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), asked the court for a restraining order on the land pending hearing and the determination of the suit.

The senior silk, Oyewole in an originating summons brought pursuant to section 272(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended) and under Order 5 Rule 5 of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019.

He prayed the court to determine whether the claimant is entitled to specific performance of the valid and subsisting contract between the and the defendant for the purchase of the parcel of land measuring 1000 Square Metres representing the portion of the entire land area covered by the piles, along Bishop Aboyade Cole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

He also prayed to the court for a declaration that the contract duly executed by the claimant and the defendant based on the offer letter dated 28″ September 202.2, 15 valid and subsisting having regard to the acceptance of same and payment of consideration.

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While ruling on the application after Oyewole’s submission, Justice Sule- Amzat order the parties to maintain the status quo.

The judge said that she has listened to the learned silk, Oyewole (SAN) praying the Court for a preservative order to maintain status quo in order to forestall the dissipation of the res.

” I have taken cognizance of the fact that the preservation of the res would serve the better end of justice. I am also mindful that there is a need to hear the other side and prevent breakdown of law and order, parties in this suit are hereby ordered to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of this suit.”

She also ordered that hearing notice to issue, copy of same and affidavit of service of same be put in the court file before the next adjourned date.

The judge subsequently adjourned the case to February 7, 2023 for further proceedings.

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