Wednesday, May 8, 2019 6:51 pm
Oyo State High Court on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 has fixed May 14 2019 for the Oyo State Government to explain why it must not be ordered to stop construction on a 39-acre of land, which members of the Christian Mission for the Deaf in the State alleged it was forcefully dispossessing them of.
In the suit marked I/314/2019, brought before Justice O.M. Fadeyi of the Ring Road High Court 12, the Registered Trustees of the Christian Mission for the Deaf had urged the court for an order for Governor Abiola Ajimobi to maintain status quo pending the determination of the motion for interlocutory injunction filed before the court.
The association had joined the Ministry of Lands and Housing, as well as, the Attorney General, and Justice Commissioner with the Governor, claiming that they bought the expansive land with the objective of establishing a University for the deaf on it.
Represented by Mr Niyi Eyinola, the association said that the State Government had been served with an interlocutory injunction dated 25th March, since over a month and same was fixed for hearing on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.
Addressing the court, Eyinola said, “The interlocutory injunction and originating processes have been served upon all the respondents. Up till now, they are yet to file any process or defence to our application. We are ready to go on”.
Responding however, the State counsel, Mrs Omolara Adepoju, said: “We are not prepared to go on because responses from other respondents just got to us yesterday and we have started preparing to file our statement of defence. We are praying the court to grant us a short adjournment to put in all necessary processes”.
Counsel to the association opposed the oral application for adjournment saying that “This application had been served on the respondents over a month ago. I was there on the land yesterday and work was still going on there. Government has continued to put structures on it as shown in the photographs I took there yesterday. However, should the court be obliged to grant the adjournment, I will pray that an order for parties to maintain status quo be given pending the determination of the interlocutory injunction pending in the matter. Both parties will lose nothing if the order is given”.
Adepoju, however, countered the application on the ground that the pictures which her opposing counsel presented to the Judge were not before the court.
Justice Fadeyi observed that the State should have responded to the application since the other respondents are parastatals of the government within the same Secretariat.
He said: “At the last proceeding, the matter was adjourned at the instance of the respondents. You are their counsel and you ought to have advised them as to the urgency of the matter. Ignorance is not an excuse in law. I am not inclined to make the order to maintain status quo today. I, therefore, adjourn to May 14, 2019 pending when the respondents would have adequately responded to the processes served on them”.