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Saraki family suffers setback as court lifts injunction on ‘Ile Arugbo’

Saraki family suffers setback as court lifts injunction on ‘Ile Arugbo’
August 07
17:47 2020

The Kwara state high court has lifted the interim injunction restraining the state government from carrying out construction works on Ile Arugbo, political home of Olusola Saraki, father of  Bukola Saraki, ex-Senate president.

The judgment was given following the repeated failure of Akin Onigbinde, counsel to the claimant, Asa Investment Limited, a private firm said to be owned by the late father of the former senate president, to appear before the court.

Asa Investment Limited had taken the state government to court after the demolition of Ile Arugbo.

The government had said the land, meant for the construction of a secretariat and parking lot of the civil service clinic, was illegally taken over by the Sarakis.

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At the proceedings on Thursday in Ilorin, the state capital, Abiodun Adebara, the presiding judge, explained that Onibinde failed again to attend the court session but instead sent a letter, together with a medical report, saying he was advised to undergo bed rest from August 3 to August 10.

On July 8, Onigbinde had agreed to an adjournment for July 22 but he later said he could not make the sitting, which led to the adjournment to August 6 which he again, failed to attend.

Salman Jawond, Kwara state attorney-general, who appeared for the government, said the claimant was “deliberately wasting the time of the court” and urged Adebara to dismiss the case for lack of diligent prosecution and to award N250,000 each in favour of the defendants.

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Jawondo insisted that Asa Limited was just buying time with the numerous adjournments,  wondering why other counsels to the claimant could not continue with the case in the absence of Onigbinde.

Adebara said he would have stuck out the case but instead awarded a penalty of N200,000 each in favour of all the four defendants—Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, Kwara state governor, Salman Jawond, Kwara state attorney-general, house of assembly, and bureau of lands another N50,000 in favour of the police.

“I agree with the learned Attorney General that the claimants are not diligent in the prosecution of this case which entitled me to dismiss the case under Order 39 rule 4 of the Rules of this Court but having regard to the provision of Order 39 rules 5 and 6 which allow the claimants to apply to set aside the judgment dismissing the case, I consider it better to give the claimants another opportunity,” Adebara said.

“Hence, instead I award the costs of 200,000 Naira against the claimants in favour of the 1st to 4th Defendants and the costs of 50,000 Naira in favour of the 5th Defendant against the claimants. Furthermore, the exparte order of injunction granted the claimants earlier on in this case is hereby vacated.”

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The case was subsequently adjourned to September 23 and September 24 to allow the claimant’s counsel to continue the case.

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