A Kwara State High Court has lifted the interim injunction restraining the State Government from constructing anything on the partially demolished structure and land initially occupied by a former Senate Leader, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, the father of the immediate past President of the Senate, Dr, Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
The judgment was delivered on Thursday in the case instituted by Asa Investment Limited on the parcel of land, popularly known as Ile Arugbo.
The loss of the land to the government followed the repeated failure of counsel to the claimant, Asa Investment Limited, to appear before the court to fully prosecute its case.
The Asa Investment Limited, which is purportedly owned by the late Olusola Saraki, had taken the Kwara State Government to court after the latter reclaimed the land which it said was unlawfully taken over by the firm without any right of occupancy or payment to the owner, the state government.
However, the court, presided over by Justice Abiodun Adebara, also awarded a penalty of N200,000 each in favour of all the four defendants: Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; Attorney General of Kwara State; Kwara State House of Assembly; and Kwara State Bureau of Lands, and another N50,000 to the police on account of the failure of the claimant to allow the case to proceed to hearing on various occasions.
Justice A. Adebara took the decision after the counsel to the claimant, Akin Onigbinde (SAN), again failed to attend the court session on Thursday.
Onigbinde instead sent a letter, accompanied with a medical report, saying he was advised to undergo bed rest between August 3 and 10, 2020.
Justice Adebara however adjourned the matter to September 23 and 24, 2020 to allow the claimant’s counsel to continue the case, warning that he would not grant any other adjournment after this.
The Kwara State Government had in January reclaimed the land, which it said was originally meant for the construction of the civil service secretariat but was unlawfully gifted out to a private firm in 2005 without any payment or certificate of ownership.
Asa Investment Limited, which claims ownership of the land, thereafter challenged the action of the government in the court.