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Court restrains Council from sealing off bank premises

By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—An Edo State High Court, Benin,  has restrained the authorities of Oredo Local Government Area of the state, from sealing off the premises of the Mission Road branch of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, over the bank’s alleged failure to pay the increased tenement rate.

The Council had increased the tenement rate from N82,000 which the bank paid in 2009 to N1million. But the bank described the increment as excessive, arbitrary and illegal, and  headed to court, challenging  what it described as an outrageous increment.

The bank is arguing that  all efforts it made to meet with the authorities of the Council to review the said amount proved abortive as they insisted on the amount.

“The defendant in clear breach of the Local Government Law 2000, failed, refused and neglected to ascertain and assess the res of the tenement, using appraisers before imposing the said outrageous sum of N1million.

The defendants and their agents have continued to harass the plaintiff, threatening to seal off the plaintiff’s premises at the expiration of the time prescribed in the demand notice,” the bank argued.

Ruling in the suit, trial judge, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba said,  “I have considered the application and the affidavit evidence in support as well as the exhibits attached. I have given serious consideration to the submission of learned counsel for the applicant. It is my view that this application ought to be granted in view of the fact that there is a real urgency as gleaned from the added affidavit of urgency.

“Consequently, the defendants/respondents, their agents, privies howsoever described, are restrained from disrupting the plaintiff’s business, sealing its business premises and any other branch of the plaintiff’s property pending the expiration of the notice given to the defendants and the determination of the motion on notice already filed,” the court said.


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