An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, the state capital, has restrained the 68 sacked council chairmen and chairmen of Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) from the forceful and illegal takeover of the council offices across the state.
The court, presided over by Honourable Justice Moshud Abass, granted the four reliefs sought by the lead counsel to the Oyo State Government, Dr. Akin Onigbinde (SAN), including an order of interim injunction restraining the sacked chairmen from forcefully taking over the Local Government Councils or taking steps capable of causing breach of peace in the state.
The orders of interim injunction, which were granted by the Oyo State High Court followed an ex-parte motion filed by the State Government in Suit No: I/78/2020.
Also restrained were the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar; Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Command, Mr Shina Olukolu, and the Oyo State APC chairman, Mr Akin Oke.
The parties and their agents were restrained from taking any step that could tamper with the pending hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
According to the court, the sacked chairmen, as well as the four other defendants, their officers, agents, privies or otherwise, were restrained from taking steps that would cause a breach of peace by embarking on self-help to give effect to a letter dated 14th January 2020 with reference number HAGF/OYO/2020/VOL.I/1 issued by the AGF to the sacked chairmen and the IGP pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Meanwhile, the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state has vowed to continue in office despite an injunction purportedly procured by the state government.
In a statement, the ALGON Chairman in the state, Prince Ayodeji Abass – Aleshinloye, noted that it is a fact that there cannot be a restraining order for an action that had already been completed while the purported order had not been served on any member of ALGON.
“It is unfortunate that the state continues to embark on an exercise in futility. Our people have resumed office since Friday 24 and Monday 27, January 2020 and they (State Government) claimed to have an order of restrain procured today, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Meanwhile, that order has not been served on anyone and if eventually served on anyone, it is of no legal effect. Is it possible to restrain an action that has already been completed?”
The full statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to an unconfirmed order purportedly issued by a Court claiming to restrain elected local government Council Chairmen and Councillors from resuming office in pursuance of our constitutional mandate and as affirmed by the Supreme Court and Oyo State High Court Judgment.
Let all and sundry be informed that we have not been served with any such order and/or process in any fresh suit. We will like to state the following for the purpose of record:
• We were never removed from office in pursuance of any Order and there is no law that can be employed in aid of an illegality that will stand in a constitutional democracy.
• Reference to a purported Court Order in internet chat room does not constitute service of Court process until such order is served on relevant parties.
• More importantly, it is trite in law that an order of injunction cannot lie against acts already completed. All the local government Chairmen and Councillors have since resumed in their offices in 33 the local governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) since Friday 24th and Monday 27th January, 2020. Hundreds of witnesses abound to testify about the resumption including the Nigeria Police, Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Shina Olukolu, Division Police Officers (DPO) of various divisions as instructed by the Inspector General of Police to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court Judgment, Local government staff, Peoples democratic Party (PDP) members and the thugs they procured to cause a breach of peace in some Council Areas as well as witnessed by several other citizens of Oyo State.
No injunction can restrain a completed act. We are by this release putting the Police and other security agencies on notice to ensure that the armed People Democratic Party thugs roaming the street are not allowed to breach the peace in aid of any purported order made in futility. We remain in office until the end of our mandate.”