Silo project: Court summons Oyo gov, attorney general, two others for contempt
A High Court sitting in Oyo, Oyo State has mandated the Governor of Oyo State, the state Attorney general and two others to on May 14 appear before it for alleged contempt of court.
Justice Iyabo Yerima, who presided over the court sitting, handed down the order on Thursday while adjudicating on a notice of consequence of disobedience to a court order that was delivered on April 9, 2019.
The notice stemmed from an order of the court delivered on April 9, 2019, in Suit No: HOY/06/2019 between Rahvet International Limited as claimant and Governor of Oyo, Oyo State government, Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development of Oyo State and Attorney General of Oyo State as defendants.
The April 9 sitting had granted the prayers of the April 3 motion exparte of the claimant, filed by Bode Elemide & Co Legal Practitioners and Notaries, for interim injunctions restraining the defendants, commissioners, permanent secretaries, agents, servants, privies from forcefully taking over and breaking into the project site of the 10,000 metric tonnes 4 bin silos project situated at Oyo-Awe road by Awe junction, Oyo town pending the determination of the interlocutory application.
Furthermore, the Justice Yerima sitting had also issued an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants and other associates from tampering with any of the equipment stored by the applicant within the premises of the project site or in any way attempt to install equipment without active and direct participation of the claimant and its technical partners, that is, China National Heavy Machine Corporation (CHMC), pending the determination of the interlocutory application.
While filing a contempt proceeding on Thursday, counsel to the claimant, Bode Elemide relying on order 42 Rules 9 & 10 of the Oyo State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2010, held that the defendants flouted the order of the court on April 10, 2019, by breaking the padlocks to the gate of the site to enable them to gain entry into the site.
Upon breaking their way into the project site, Elemide also notified the court that the “invaders” poured libation and conducted some rituals on the site in outright disobedience of the order of injunction against the defendants/respondents.
Consequently, the claimant relying on Form 48, Order 42, Rule 10, filed a notice of consequence of disobedience to court order, arguing that the defendants were guilty of contempt of court and liable to be committed to prison.
Counsel to the defendants, Mr Najeem Abiola who is deputy director, in the Oyo Ministry of Justice, held that a motion to stay proceedings had been filed and should supersede the April 9 court order.
He had further argued that defendants were not served personally and that the form 48 did not contain an express narrative of the invasion alleged by the claimant.
The judge however held that the fact that the defendants had disobeyed a court order subsisted and that the office of the defendants sued acknowledged receipt of the April 9 court order.
Yerima said the court order should rather have been obeyed rather the defendants filling an application for stay of proceedings.
Thus, she adjourned the case till May 14 for the defendants to prepare their defence on the contempt of court case against them.