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Richard Nyong and Kehinde Dawodu might go to jail for disobeying court order

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A Federal high court sitting in Lagos has been asked to commit to prison Mr. Richard Nyong and Engineer Kehinde Dawodu, both the Managing Director and Project Manager of Lekki Garden Estate Limited, for disobeying an order of the court.

The members of Foreshore Residents Association also asked the court for an order cordoning off the estate of the Mr. Nyong and Engineer Dawodu, known and situate at Block II Plot 2, Plot 7 Block Plot 5 Block 6, Plot 17 Block 9, Block 9 PIot 23, Block 9 Plot 17, Block 10 Plots 1A,1.,1C, Block 6 Plot 19, Block 6 Plot 12, Block . Plot 9A, Block 6 Plot 14, and Block 11 P ot 2, Signature One on Royal Palm Drive; Signature two, Le Chateau, Insigma and Foreshore Towers on Acacia road, within the Estate in disobedience to the order of the court.

They also asked the court for an order directing the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 Command, through his officers to immediately arrest, detain and produce before this Court, any contractors and or workers, save security personnel, found on the properties being developed by both Mr. Nyong and Engineer Dawodu within the Estate known as and situate at Block II Plot 2, Plot 7 BIock 7, Plot 5 Block 6, Plot 17 Block 9, Bloc 9 Plot 23, Block 9 Plot 17, Block 10 Plots A, 1B, 1C, Block 6 Plot 19, Block 6 Plot 2, Block 6 Plot 9A, Block 6 Plot 14, and Bl ck 11 Plot 2, Signature One on Royal PIam Drive, Signature Two, Le Chateau, Insignia and Foreshore Towers on Acacia Road within the Estate or any other property currently being developed by the Respondents within Osborne Foreshore Estate II, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The Association members asked for the above in a motion brought before the court pursuant to sections 6 (6) and 287 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Order 35 of the Rules of the Court, 2019, filed by their lawyer, Mr. Taiwo Ogbara of Kemi Pinheiro’s Chambers, in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/755/2021.

Listed as respondents alongside Nyong and Engineer Dawodu in the suit are: National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency; Lekki Gardens Estate Limited; Foreshore Waters Limited; Lagos State Physical Permit Authority.

The Association members who are plaintiffs/applicants in the suit, said their request for the above orders against Mr. Nyong and Engineer Dawodu, was sequel to their disobedience to an interim order made by the court on July 9, 2021, which stopped any form of construction in the above listed estates.

The plaintiffs/applicants in an affidavit deposed to by Ifeoma Maduakor, an Admin Manager of the Osborne Foreshore Phase II Residents’ Association, averred that the court on July 9, 2021, the Court presided by Justice Nicholas Oweibo, granted the interim orders sought by the Plaintiff, restraining Lekki Gardens Estate Limited and Foreshore Waters Limited from further developments on their sites within the Estate, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The deponent stated that the interim orders, together with the Originating summons in this suit and the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction were all duly served on Lekki Gardens Limited and Foreshore Waters Limited, on July 12, 2021, and duly acknowledged.

The deponent however stated that nevertheless and without regard to the proceedings of the Court, Engr. Kehinde Dawodu (Project Manager of the 2nd Defdant) acting on the instruction and directive of Richard Nyong, the Managing Directe and Alter ego of Lekki Gardens Limited and Foreshore Waters Limited, by a letter dated July 22, 2021, headed “IMMEDIATE RESUMPTION OF WORKS A OSBORNE FORESHORE ESTATE 2” addressed to all the contractors and workers of Lekki Gardens Limited and Foreshore Waters Limited, directed all the said contractors and workers to return to their sites within the Estate from July 23, 2021, to continue the developments, which this honourable Court had earlier restrained by the interim orders made on July 9, 2021.

The deponent averred further that subsequent to the counter directive issued, officers of the Lekki Gardens Limited and Foreshore Waters Limited together with their contractors and workers, in company of some policemen stormed the Estate with heavy duty trucks and proceeded to the sites within the Estate to continue developments and construction works.

She stated that the interim orders made by the Court on July 9 day of July, 2021, are binding, and subsisting on all parties to this suit, until set aside or discharged by a court of competent jurisdiction and that the Court is empowered to defend its authority and sanctity by invoking its coercive powers to discipline the first and second respondents and second and third defendants for contempt.

The deponet added that the second and third defendants are still refusing to comply with the orders of the Court, and have indeed boasted around that they would frustrate the Plaintiff in its bid to seek legal redress of the dispute.

However, at the resumed hearing of the matter today, all the defendants through their Counsel, Tola Oshobi (SAN), challenged the interim order issued by the court on Jurisdiction ground.

Justice Oweibo after taking arguments from counsel of both parties on jurisdiction, adjourned till August 10, for ruling.

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