Justice Olubunmi Femi-Adeniyi of Ikeja High Court yesterday ordered the police to arrest and produce in court the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), and his Defence counterpart, Mr. Labaran Maku, over an N18.7 billion suit of a sealed property.
Justice Adeniyi issued the bench warrant, ordering the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed D. Abubakar, to produce the federal government officials in court, following their refusal to appear in court yesterday, to defend the suit.
Last December, the judge granted an ex-parte motion to be served on the defendants following their refusal to comply with an earlier order instructing them to reopen the closed Mammy Market located within Giwa Barracks, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos state.
The Defence authorities had, in February 2007, sealed off the 225 shops in the market following a one-week notice given to the market men and women to vacate the place.
The market association met with the then Commanding Officer, Group Captain Patrick Mbanugo, and pleaded that the military should see reasons but he told them that the closure was “an order from above.”
On February 19, 2007, the association commenced a civil action before the High Court of Lagos against the defendants, claiming amongst others perpetual injunction, declaratory reliefs and the sum of N18.7 billion as damages against the defendants.
An interlocutory order was granted against the defendants on April 25, 2008, directing them to open and take inventory of all goods and properties of the claimants.
The court also gave an order restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, developers and privies from demolishing, defacing, altering and/or removing in any manner, reconstructing and rebuilding of any or all of the claimants’ 225 shops at the market, pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
At yesterday’s proceedings, counsel to the market association, Mr. Stanley Ochoga, told the court that the settlement move by the defendants was long overdue.
He prayed the court to issue a bench warrant on the defendants to appear in court during the next adjournment.
Responding, counsel to the Attorney-General, Mr. B.R. Ashiru prayed the court to give the defendants more time to perfect the settlement.
He said the defendants were still interested in the settlement agreement and would soon come up with the terms of settlement.
But Justice Femi-Adeniyi, in her ruling, said the settlement agreement was long overdue.