A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory FCT in Abuja has been asked to commit the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and Attorney General of the State, Oyewole Oyelowo to prison over their alleged refusal to obey an order of the court.
Also sought to be committed to prison are Egyptian Contractors led by Fadi Khalil on the same alleged disregard for a lawful order of the court.
An Abuja-based company, ENL Consortium Limited in a committal to prison proceedings argued on Wednesday, held that the order of the court issued against the Governor, Attorney General and others since July 4, 2022 has not been complied with.
Counsel to the company, Mr Bankole Joel Akomolafe in form 48 initiated against the defendants prayed Justice Josephine Obanor not to listen to the defendants on any issue until they have purged themselves of contempt of court.
Akomolafe reminded the Judge that on July 4, 2022, the court issued an order restraining Craneburg Limited, Oyo State Government, Oyo State Attorney General and an Egyptian, Mr. Fadi Khalil from interfering with the activities of ENL Consortium in relation to the 32 Kilometers Ibadan Circular Road Project awarded to in 2017.
He claimed that since the order was made and served on the defendants, ENL Consortium Limited has not been allowed to resume work.
At Wednesday’s proceedings, counsel to the Governor and Attorney General, Professor Taiwo Osipitan SAN, sought to move a motion seeking to discharge and set aside the restraining order against his clients on the ground that an appeal has been entered against the order at the Court of Appeal.
The Senior lawyer asked the Judge to hands off the suit pending the determination of the appeal marked CA/ABJ/CV/973/2022.
However, Akomolafe agreed partially with the submission of Osipitan SAN but held that the contempt charge against the Governor and AG takes precedent over any motion from the defendants.
He cited Supreme Court authorities that dignity, honour and majesty of the Court must be protected through obedience to court orders adding that the Governor and AG being in contempt of court cannot be heard.
Akomolafe, therefore, sought leave of the Court to enable him file and serve form 49 against the defendants.
At this point, Osipitan appealed to Justice Obanor to grant him adjournment to enable him respond in writing to the contempt charge.
Justice Obanor in a brief ruling granted adjournment till October 28.
The Judge, in addition, ordered that the status quo be maintained by all parties in line with the court order of July 4.
ENL Consortium Limited through its counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu SAN had engaged Craneburg Limited and Oyo State Government in a legal battle over the alleged unlawful termination of the contract awarded to it by the immediate past governor of the state, late Senator Abiola Ajimobi on Contractor financed lease agreement.
Justice Josephine Enobie Obanor had on July 4 issued a stop work order against Craneburg Company following a complaint of unlawful award of the road project to it by the Oyo State Government.
In the ENL Consortium’s complaint, it was alleged that the contract for the road work was lawfully awarded to it on August 25, 2017, by the same Oyo State Government on Contractor Financed Agreement and had since been on site before the sudden appearance of Craneburg Company on the same project site.