Court hears firm’s appeal November 30
The Court of Appeal will on November 30 hear an appeal by a firm, M.J.O Inter Marchant Limited and its Managing Director, Prophet Martins Oni, against Farayola Ogundokun, Nelson Olaoluwa and Toyin Randle (alias Baba Tosin).
The appellants had sued at the lower court over an alleged illegal demolition of their property and stealing of goods worth over N3 billion at Plot 15, Apapa Oshodi Expressway, Ijeshatedo, Surulere, Lagos, but didn’t get favourable decision.
M.J.O Inter Merchant and Oni are, therefore, seeking to overturn the decision delivered by Justice Y.G Oshoala of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, on January 26 in a suit marked ID/4899 LMW/ 2017.
In their Notice of Appeal filed by the appellants’ counsel, Chief Neston Okwarauba, they said the trial judge erred in law when he held that the court had become functus officio over the suit.
They said the judge was wrong to decline jurisdiction to hear the case on the ground that it was incompetent and an abuse of the court process.
The judge had held that the court has adjudicated on an earlier suit on the same subject matter, he had no jurisdiction to hear the new case.
But the appellants are contending that the case raised the issue of fraud and concealment of facts, which were not contained in the earlier suit numbered LD/2801/92, the judgment of which the demolition was based.
The appellants said before the execution of the purported judgment, they had been in quiet, undisturbed and uninterrupted possession and occupation of the property since 1992.
Okwarauba is also contending that the trial judge erred in law when he failed to consider the alleged illegal actions of the respondents in using self-help to levy execution, which resulted in damages to the appellants.
He said the building was demolished without obtaining an order from a competent court, while goods worth over N3 billion were carted away rather than being taken to the office of the court’s Deputy Sheriff as required by law.
The appellants are contending that the subject matter of the case falls within the lower court’s jurisdiction.
According to them, the suit before the lower court seeks to show that the judgment in the previous case was obtained by concealment of material facts.
Okwarauba urged Appeal Court to allow the appeal, set aside the ruling of the lower court and remit the case back to the High Court of Lagos State for trial on merit before another judge.
The lawyer is also alleging that the respondents did not maintain the status quo by staying away from the property, while the matter was pending appeal.
He said the respondents allegedly started erecting a structure on the property against a restraining application filed at the Appeal Court and served on them.