LAWYERS4CHANGE

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

LAWYER DETAINS LAWYER WITH EX-PARTE ORDER

SQUIB COVER STORY

Emmanuel Adebowale Adesina, is a lawyer and also a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

At about 12.00p.m on Friday the 16th November 2007, the lawyer came to the Police Zonal Headquarter Zone 2, Onikan Lagos a.k.a “Zone 2” with the sole aim of ensuring the release of some members of his church {the Higher Ground Parish of the RCCG at No. 10, Adebayo Street, Pedro Lagos} who had been arrested the previous day by policemen and brought down, to Zone 2.

After some few hours, lawyer Adesina’s efforts and those of other church members with him paid off. But then a twist in the tale occurred. He, the chief rescuer, was not going home, for as the police now disclosed to Adesina’s chagrin, there is a court order, directing his arrest. {See cover story exhibit for the order}.

At first, Adesina thought the police claim was a joke. But when a copy of the order signed by Honourable Justice Alaba Marsh was gratuitously produced by one Lukman Imam, counsel in the chambers of Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun and Co, legal practitioners, the jocularity of the occasion vamoosed instantly.

We may pause here to ask why in the first instance, Adesina’s church-members were arrested by the police on Thursday 15th November and detained till Friday the 16th November and only released when their pastor {Adesina} showed up?

In the immediate, the story went back to November 2 2007, when a High Court Sheriff in company of some policemen and several members of a rough crowd, stormed Adesina’s Higher Ground Parish of the R.C.C.G in the name of levying execution on the place.

The executioners so to say, met resistance from members of the church who claimed that the judgement or order of the court that the sheriffs brandished {ID/138M/2006 OKHUOLOJIE & OR Vs IGP & ORS} did not pertain to their land and that neither their church nor their landlord were parties in the suit, nor were they privies to any of the parties. {See Cover Story Exhibit A}.

In the heat of the confrontation, the police arrested Adesina, claiming that the order of court in ID/138M/2006} empowered them so to do to him or any other person obstructing the sheriffs in doing their work. Less than an hour later, the police released Adesina. The sheriff and his crowd went their way and the church people went to their church.

But if the church people thought that was the end of their troubles, they were sorely mistaken. This was because, the Bisi Ade - Ademuwagun chambers acting for their clients, Fred Okhulojie in suit ID/138m/2006 simply went back to the Court of Honourable Justice Alaba Marsh in an ex-parte application, to demand for, among other things, specifically the arrest of Emmanuel Adesina.

Interestingly the said application was filed, heard and granted all on the 5th November 2007 {See Cover Story Exhibit B}.
Equally interesting is the fact that Fred Okhulojie, Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun’s counsel is no stranger to the Higher Ground Church people or their pastor, Emmanuel Adesina as he was locked in dispute over a parcel of land immediately adjacent to the church land in suit number LD/2530/03 OWOLABI Vs OKWUCHUKURU EZEONYEODU & 1 OR. before Honourable Justice Adenike Coker.


When Justice Marsh’s order of 5th November 2007 was produced at ‘Zone 2’, Adesina was understandably aghast. All his valiant arguments that he was not a party to the suit before Justice Marsh, that the order was obtained behind his back (ex-parte} that the order did not give a return date or when he should be brought before the court and finally that the order did not ask for his detention were met with a combative and insistent demand by Lukman Imam that “Court Order is Court Order, no matter the defects and must be obeyed until set aside.”

At the end of the day, the police toed Lukman Imam’s position and Adesina was detained. It was a detention which would last till the noon of Monday, the 19th November 2007 when he was released by the order of Honourable Justice Marsh at the powerful instance of the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos and Ikeja branches which led Adesina’s counsel the WinnersDon’tQuit Chambers, to pray for the pastor’s release.

A search of the case - file of Suit No. ID/138M/2006 before Justice Marsh reveals that the suit is a fundamental right application {See Cover Story Exhibit C} with the applicants therein praying the court essentially for an order restraining the respondents: from disturbing the applicants in the quiet possession and enjoyment of their land and their rights to human dignity, liberty, freedom of movement and acquisition of property.

Curiously mid-way in the action, the fundamental rights application took on the strong hue and colouration of an action for possession of land. Please see Exhibit D.
By a motion ex-parte dated the 22nd May, 2007 but filed on 3rd July, 2007 at 9.08 a.m. applicants via their counsel Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun prayed the court for -


1. An order for possession to the 1st Applicant forthwith and without disturbance by any authority or person the piece or parcel of land situate lying and being at Debari village/Obanikoro, Pedro, Shomolu, Lagos shown n survey plan No WAT/LA/187/91 dated the 1st of August 1991 being the parcel of land in respect of which the title and right of possession of the 1st said Applicant was confirmed by the judgement of the High Court of Lagos State dated 14 June 2006 Suit No. ID/195/06 being portion of a larger parcel of land adjudged to belong to the Aina Edu Alashe by the judgement of the Supreme Court dated 27th day of March 1950 in Suit No. 114/48 the said land having reverted back to the original owners since the purpose for acquiring the same had been abandoned by Lagos State Government as confirmed by the order of His Lordship, honourable Justice K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun dated 9th of May 1997 in Suit No. ID/749/92.

2. An order to force open doors to building or structures on the said and to remove illegal structures therefrom forthwith
This rather strange and startling development moved the SQUIB to seek audience with the bar leader, Dr. Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun to ask these few questions from him on Friday the 23rd November, 2007.
The interaction went thus:

SQUIB: I have done a Search of the Case file of your matter ID/138M/2006 before Justice Marsh and I have some questions for you.
DR. ADE-ADEMUWAGUN: You’ve done that? Alright, what are your questions?
SQUIB: First, I want to know whether it is proper for you to secure the arrest of a person by way of a motion ex-parte?
DR. ADE-ADEMUWAGUN: There’s nothing wrong there. The order was to ensure that they are brought before the court to explain why they disobeyed court order.
SQUIB: Is it not odd that you used a Fundamental Rights action to deprive another person of his own rights, of his own liberty?

DR. ADE-ADEMUWAGUN: No, not like that. The order is to ensure that they are brought before the court.
SQUIB: By the way, I saw in the file that you joined some other persons in the action and made them parties and then later filed Form 48 and 49 against them, why didn’t you treat Adesina like that? Why seek his arrest ex-parte, and even when he is not a party to the suit?
DR. ADE-ADEMUWAGUN: That’s how we saw it {fit to do} that time in the case.
SQUIB: I also noticed that even though this is a fundamental right action, you’re applying for order of possession of land in it? How proper is this?
DR. ADE-ADEMUWAGUN: You have to understand that the issue of land is in this case.
SQUIB: I know that. If I am right, you were in court against the applicants who you said were preventing you from peaceable possession and enjoyment of your land and thus asking the court to stop them from harassing and disturbing you on the land.
DR. ADE-ADEMUWAGUN: Yes.
SQUIB: That’s why I am asking why in this same fundamental right case, you are applying for order of possession of land?
DR. ADE-ADEMUWAGUN: The issue of land is in this case and we are only applying to the court to enforce the {earlier} order of court which had granted land to the applicants. We are doing the case the way we see it. But, one stands to be corrected.


In a chat with Emmanuel Adesina, who obviously now values his freedom better than before, after his 31/2 days close association and habitation with bugs, roaches and mosquitoes in his place of detention at Zone 2, the man could not hide his disdain for Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun. Said Adesina; “How a lawyer like Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun ever came to lead a progressive branch of the NBA like Ikeja Bar is a wonder. I think it is a great misfortune for the NBA Ikeja branch to have had such a man ever as their Chairman.

For a man who I heard was called to the Bar in 1982 and was once the chairman of a branch of the NBA to have caused my arrest and detention using an ex-parte application in a case I am not a party is a great tragedy.
I will certainly take him up on what he has done to me and the church of God.”

Related links: http://www.learnedsquib.blogspot.com

http://www.squiblogg.blogspot.com

http://www.editorspark.blogspot.com



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