A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja has been asked to commit Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and Attorney-General of the state, Oyewole Oyelowo, to prison over alleged refusal to obey an order of the court.
Also sought to be committed to prison were Egyptian contractors led by Fadi Khalil on the same alleged disregard to lawful order of the court.
An Abuja based company, ENL Consortium Limited, in a committal to prison proceedings argued on Wednesday, held that the order of the court issued against Makinde, Oyelowo and others since July 4, 2022 had not been complied with.
Counsel to the company, Bankole Akomolafe, in a Form 48 initiated against the defendants, prayed Justice Josephine Obanor not to listen to the defendants on any issue until they have purged themselves of contempt of the court.
Akomolafe reminded the Judge that on July 4, 2022, the court issued an order restraining Craneburg Limited, Oyo State Government, Oyo State Attorney-General and an Egyptian, Mr. Fadi Khalil, from interfering with the activities of ENL Consortium in relation to the 32 kilometres Ibadan Circular Road Project awarded to it in 2017.
He claimed that since the order was made and served on the defendants, the ENL Consortium Limited had not been allowed to resume work.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, counsel to the Governor and Attorney-General, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, SAN, had sought to move a motion seeking to discharge and set aside the restraining order against his clients on the ground that an appeal had been entered against the order at the Court of Appeal.
He asked the Judge to hands off from the suit pending the determination of the appeal marked CA/ABJ/CV/973/2022.
Akomolafe agreed partially with the submission of Osipitan but held that the contempt charge against the Governor and AG takes precedent over any motion from the defendants.
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He cited Supreme Court authorities that dignity, honour and majesty of the Court must be protected through obedience to court orders adding that the Governor and AG, being in contempt of court cannot be heard.
Akomolafe, therefore, sought leave of the Court to enable him file and serve form 49 against the defendants.
At this point, Osipitan appealed to Justice Obanor to grant him adjournment to enable him respond in writing to the contempt charge.
Justice Obanor in a brief ruling granted adjournment till October 28.
The Judge, in addition, ordered that status quo must be maintained by all parties in line with the court order of July 4.
ENL Consortium Limited through its counsel, Joseph Daudu, SAN, had engaged Craneburg Limited and Oyo State Government in a legal battle over alleged unlawful termination of the contract awarded to it by the immediate past governor of the state, late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, on Contractor financed lease agreement.
Justice Obanor had on July 4 issued a stop work order against Craneburg Company following a complaint of unlawful award of the road project to it by the Oyo State Government.
In the ENL Consortium’s complaint, it was alleged that contract for the road work was lawfully awarded to it on August 25, 2017 by the same Oyo State Government on Contractor-Financed Agreement and had since been on site before the sudden appearance of Craneburg Company on the same project site.