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Ibadan High Chiefs Vs Oyo Gov: Chief Judge Adjourns Suit Till February 1

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•Asks parties to address grey areas

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THE Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, on Friday, adjourned until February 1, 2022, the case instituted by the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Lekan Balogun and seven others over the revocation of their elevation to obas. 

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He also ordered parties in the suit to file further written addresses to narrow down their arguments. 

The suit is contesting the validity of a consent judgment given by a state high court on November 19, 2019 in suit: M/317/2017, as part of efforts to resolve the crisis that trailed the elevation of the high chiefs. 

Although the case was originally scheduled for judgment on Friday, Justice Abimbola stated that there were some ambiguities in the many processes filed in the suit delineated I/22/2020. According to the judge, this necessitated further clarifications in terms of address. 

Justice Abimbola explained that the claims and counter claims filed by parties in the matter were about 3,446 pages since November 1, 2021 when the case came before the court for determination on the validity of the consent judgment. 

He cautioned all counsels to ensure their addresses stayed within the ambit of the law and not deviate from laid down principles and points of law. 

He frowned at the situation whereby lawyers now do analysis on the facts of a case before the court in public places, saying that it is not good that letters written by lawyers on matters that are pending before courts are flying about on social media. 

He urged counsels to desist from such act, stating that as ministers in the court of justice, they are to calm nerves and not add to festering situations. 

He emphasised the need to stop talking about issues before the court and desecrating the hallowed temple of the judiciary. 

Senator Lekan Balogun and seven others had filed a suit against the Governor of Oyo State and five others, asking the court to determine whether the terms of settlement of consent judgment in suit M/317/2017 between Chief Rashidi Ladoja and the governor of Oyo State of November 19, 2019 did not prejudice and negatively affect their interests. 

They further asked the court to determine whether the terms of settlement and consequent judgment in respect of vested legal interests of third parties has not been “fraudulently and prejudicially” divested them of their rights and interests vested in them to wear beaded crowns and coronet titles by virtue of Gazette No 14, Vol 42 of August 23, 2017; No 15, Vol 42 of August 24, 2017 and No 3, Vol 43 of March 2018. 

Also, they asked the court to determine whether the consent judgment is not null and void, having “fraudulently” deprived the claimants who were not parties to the suit of their rights and interest vested in them by the gazette and whether it is not null and void, having been obtained by fraud and concealment of facts. 

The High Chiefs also asked the court to determine whether the terms of settlement are “not irregular, fraudulent and deceptive, rendering the consent judgment a nullity.” 

They asked for a declaration of the court ordering that the consent judgment is not binding in law and enforceable against them who are not parties to the terms of settlement and suit and is consequently null and void. 

They also sought an injunction restraining the government and its agencies from disturbing them from the enjoyment of the rights and privileges conferred on them by law and by virtue of various instruments purportedly set aside or annulled on account of the consent judgment.

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