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Court declines judgment over palace ownership

By Dayo Johnson
The Federal High Court sitting in Akure has declined jurisdiction in a suit filed by the deposed Olugbo of Ugbo, Adebanjo Mafimisebi over the ownership of the palace in Ode-Ugbo.

Mafimisebi had approached the court to enforce his fundamental human rights and prayed the court to prevent his ejection from the palace.

Meanwhile, the Ojadele ruling house, the only ruling house of the Olugbo of Ugbo weekend took over the palace, which is called the “Akodi Olugbo”.

A statement by the publicity secretary of the ruling house, Prince Oloyede Megbodofo, said the move became necessary as past of the coronation events of the new Olugbo of Ugbo.

The former Olugbo had prayed the court for a declaration that being the lawful owner of his residence otherwise known as the “Akodi Olugbo” built by him, he should be allowed to occupy and inhabit the property with members of his family.

Mafimisebi had continued to occupy the ‘Akodi Olugbo, even after his disposition by the Supreme Court.

Through his counsel, Dr Olumide Ayeni, the former monarch said since he used his personal fund to build the place called, Akodi Olugbo, the respondents should be restrained from ejecting him from the palace.

Defendant in the suit include the Ondo State government, the Inspector General of Police, Chief of Army Staff, Commissioner of Police, Ondo State , the Commanding Officer, Nigerian Army Barrack, Okitipupa, the Commanding Officer and the Nigerian Army barrack, Akure.

The Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede who represented the state government, argued that the court could not entertain the suit because it lacked jurisdiction.

Jegede said the application was grossly incompetent as it was not in compliance with extant rules.

He argued that since the subject matter of the application was a land matter related to chieftaincy, the federal high court lacked jurisdiction.

In his ruling, Justice G.C. Okeke, said having considered the submissions of counsel, the court lacked jurisdiction over the matter.

Okeke said the suit instead of being filed through enforcement of fundamental right procedure should have come through originating summons.

“I have weighed all the submissions of both parties, I also read the cases cited by counsel and I am convinced beyond doubt that Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the applicant relief’s and I so hold”.

Also, the court held that the failure on the part of the counsel to the plaintiff to attach supporting affidavit to his ex parte order, which was earlier granted by the court robbed it of jurisdiction.

Consequently, Justice Okeke ordered that the earlier order restraining the applicants from ejecting the plaintiff from Akodi Olugbo is rendered useless.


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