Contempt of court: IGP, Kano commissioner risk jail over sealing of rice factory

• As court orders KNSG, police to vacate company premises

The Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered the Kano State government and the Inspector-General of Police to vacate the premises of a rice processing factory, Tiamin Rice Limited in Kano State.

The trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang had, on May 4, 2020, made the order, in a court proceeding predicated on Form 48, Order IX, Rule 13 bordering on notice of consequence of disobedience to order of the court.

In the certified true copy of the order sighted by our correspondent, Justice Abang ordered the IGP, Kano state Commissioner of Police, Kano state government and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who were listed as 1st to 4th respondents respectively, to immediately unseal the premises of the rice processing factory or be liable to be committed to prison.

The court, in its ruling, held that it was satisfied that the respondents had been duly served with all court’s processes as well as the court’s order directing them to appear before it on April 27, 2020, but “they failed to appear before the court and offered no reason for being absent in court.”

In considering the applicants’ (Tiamin Rice Limited, Tiamin Multi-Service Global Limited and Alhaji Aliyu Ali Ibrahim who are the 1st to 3rd applicants respectively) reliefs as contained in the motion on notice dated April 20, 2020, Justice Abang declared that “the applicants are lawful owners and occupiers of their property situated at C14, A. A. Shehu House, Amana City, Zaria Road, Kano and are entitled to own property and enjoy peaceful occupation, possession and use of same including the right of ingress and egress to the said property, as guaranteed under the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended). “

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The court further held that the sealing of the business premises of the applicants’ rice processing mill and the consequent denial of lawful access without any order of competent court of law backing up the said denial of access constitute a violation of the applicants’ fundamental rights and therefore, “illegal and unconstitutional.

“The 1st and 4th respondents, whether jointly and or severally by themselves, their agents, employees, operative(s), detectives, officer(s), or whosoever by whatever name called, shall forthwith unconditionally unseal, takeover and put into possession the applicant’s rice mill factory.

“The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Kano State, being an agent of Kano State government, the 3rd judgment debtor herein shall forthwith ensure compliance with the instant subsisting judgment order of this court,” the judge held.

Consequently, Justice Abang slammed the sum of N300, 000. 00 as cost in favour of the applicants/judgment creditors payable by the respondents/judgment debtors before taking any steps in the proceedings.

 

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