By Nkasi Kolie
An Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, the state capital, has rejected a fresh application brought by the Federal Government, seeking to vacate the restraining order granted by the court against the government and its agents, including Department of State Service (DSS), not to arrest, intimidate, harass and freeze bank accounts of the Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho.
The presiding judge, Justice Ladiran Akintola, on Monday said the application was rejected based on the grounds that it was against fair hearing and fundalmental human rghts of the Igboho, saying the case involves rights to life, property and freedom, and it needs urgent attention. Granting the application, the court held, would render all actions taken so far on the matter invalid.
The court also extended the restraining order against the first respondent, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN); the second respondent, DSS; and the third respondent, Director of DSS in the state, till the next adjournment date, which is September 7th.
Igboho had through his counsel, Chief Yomi Alliyu (SAN), instituted a litigation against the AGF, DSS, and Director of DSS in the state, seeking to enforce his fundalmental human rights, over a nocturnal raid on his residence in the early hours of July 1, 2021 at Soka, Ibadan, by the DSS in collaboration with other security agencies. During the raid, two persons were killed by the security agencies, arrested 12 among his associates, allegedly recovered some firearms, and expensive property destroyed.
The judge had granted the retraining order on August 4th, and initially extended the same injunction to August 18th when the respondents appeared before the court for the first time. However, Abdullahi Abubakar, who appeared for AGF, and T. A. Nurudeen, that also appeared for second and third respondents, raised preliminary objections on the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case. The case was then adjourned to August 30th for ruling on the preliminary objections
But at the resumed hearing on Monday, a new counsel that appeared for Malami, Enock Simeon, told the court that he brought an application, seeking to vacate the restraining order.
But Igboho’s counsel, Alliyu, objected the application, saying it should not be granted, saying he had earlier filed a fresh application for extension of the restraining order on August 26th, adding that he has also responded to the preliminary objection filed by the respondents.
Malami’s counsel also asked the court for an adjournment for him to respond to the counter motion moved by Igboho’s counsel against the preliminary objection, bordering on jurisdiction of the court to entertain yeh case.
On his part, the counsel to the DSS, Nurudeen said he has not been served with the new processes, urging the court to give fair hearing to the parties by adjourning the case for hearing.
Justice Akintola, however, refused to grant the application, seeking to vacate the injunction, and adjourned the case to September 7th for hearing, saying the restraining order still subsists.
All attempts to get reactions of counsel to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Simeon Enock and Counsel to the Department of State Service to the proceedings failed as they hurriedly left the court.
The court had on August 18th awarded a cost of N50,000 against the AGF over filing his response to the processes filed by Igboho out of time, though the legal team of Igboho had asked for a cost of N250,000. But the judge granted the extension of time in the interest of justice.
In the main suit, Igboho prays the court to order the respondents jointly and separately to pay him N500billion as special damages for the damage done to his car and residence, as well as exemplary and/or aggravated damages for breaching his fundamental rights in the course of illegal and/or malicious invasion of his residence.
In the notice of preliminary objections by the AGF, he challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case, adding that Igboho’s claim of unlawful killing, tort of trespass, assault and battery could not be brought under Fundamental Right (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009.
The respondents also said the claims for damages for invasion of his house, unlawful killing, tort of trespass, assault, battery and allegation of discrimination and secessionist cannot be resolved by way of affidavit evidence without calling witnesses, tendering of documents and even a likely visit to ‘locus in quo.’
On the order not to freeze Igboho’s bank account, the AGF had said the blocking of Igboho’s bank account “is a complete action of the second and third respondents, which can only be challenged before the Federal High Court, pursuant to Section 251 (r) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).”