By Onozure Dania
Justice Morenike Obadina of a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere has adjourned the hearing of the disputed Oniru Stool to December 9 and 10, 2015. The date was fixed due to the absence of the counsel to Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru, Mrs. Mary Bassey. According to the judge, Bassey letter to the court stating that she was ill and would not be able to make it to the court and asked the court to adjourn the matter to that date when she would be able to appear before the court.
The claimants Counsel Chief Olusegun Raji who was displeased with the attitude of the defendant’s counsel said that this is the second time the counsel would be delaying the trial. At the last adjourned date Justice Obadina had awarded a cost of N25,000 against Oba Abiodun for persistent delay in a suit challenging his eligibility as the Oba Oniru of the Victoria Island Lagos.
The judge imposed the penalty on the defence counsel when the matter which was slated for commencement of hearing was stalled due to their inability of the defendants to file amendment statement of defence. Raji, in his submission before the court, said the matter was slated for trial with all his witnesses present in court but that the defence applicants have stalled the matter again.
He further stated that the counsel to Oba Abiodun has failed to comply with the order of the court directing her to file her amended statement of defence and pay the cost of N25, 000 to the claimants before the adjourn date. “My lord, this matter is slated for trial today as at the last adjournment my learned friend for defence did not file his amended statement of defence. The court also awarded cost against them and we have not been paid. We are bound by the records of your lordship,” Raji said.
In the statement of claim before the court, Oba Abiodun allegedly connived with non-relations or outsiders to manage the Oniru Chieftaincy family properties.
“The claimant averred that in order for defendant to allegedly and fraudulently do away with the family properties, they deliberately registered a company called City Property Development Limited and Chieftaincy Family Property Company Limited with all his children, siblings and associates as members and Directors.
It stated: “The claimant averred that in order to have exclusive control and monopoly of the entire Oniru Chieftaincy family properties, Oba Abiodun inaugurated a committee in 1991 which comprises his children, siblings and friends/associates with the exclusion of claimants and their relations.” tagged: Oniru Private Estate management Committee (project),” it stated.
The claimants argued that Oba Abiodun, on his own volition, disposed major part of their family land to third parties without awareness, consent or family approval.