Commercial Law

Retired General appeals dismissal of N8bn suit against Lagos, NJC, Others

By Olalekan Awojodu

Abuja

A retired Major General of the Nigerian Army, Alhaji Abdulrauf Tijani, has appealed the judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged unlawful seizure of his expanse of land in Lagos State.

The court had dismissed his suit against Lagos State government, the National Judicial Council (NJC) and six others.

Justice Inyang Ekwo last month in a judgment dismissed the N8bn damages suit on the grounds that the suit constituted a gross abuse of court process, in addition to being defective in nature and contents.

Alhaji Tijjani in the Notice of Appeal filed on October 26, 2020, is praying the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the trial court delivered on October 14, 2020 which dismissed his suit against the respondents.

In the Notice of Appeal predicated on two grounds, the ex-army chief is asking the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division to grant him all the declarative reliefs he sought from the trial court but which were not granted.

The appellant faulted the judgment of the High Court on the grounds that it was discriminatory against him based on alleged legal technicalities.

In the ground of appeal, the appellant averred that the trial judge erred in law when he glossed over the alleged stealing of case file against a serving judge of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

General Tijjani had dragged the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Federal High Court, Justice Ayokunle Faji and other respondents to court challenging the alleged injustice perpetrated against him by officials of Lagos State and the serving judge of the Federal High Court.

The other respondents include, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), a former Lagos State Attorneys General, Abdulrahman Ade Ipaye, Mr Kazeem Adeniji SAN, Lagos State government and Governor of Lagos State.

The plaintiff specifically challenged the alleged sabotage of the execution of a court judgment which returned his landed property in Lagos State to him.

In arguing his case, the retired army general urged the court to intervene in the matter because a judgment entered in his favour has been criminally sabotaged allegedly by the Lagos authorities in connivance with the Federal High Court judge.

General Tijjani, although not a lawyer argued his case himself and prayed the court to look into the justice of his case, adding that what was before the court was criminal in nature and not ordinary misconduct of a judge.

He alleged that after a Federal High Court in Lagos entered judgment in his favour in his suit challenging the unlawful seizure of his property by the Lagos authority, the judge in connivance with the then Lagos AG took the case file to a Lagos State High Court which he accused of now sitting as an Appeal Court over the Federal High Court’s judgment.

In the suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/690/2020, the plaintiff however prayed the judge to compel the National Judicial Council (NJC) to pay him another sum of N100 million for alleged misconduct of Justice A. O. Faji during the hearing of his matter.

In addition, he asked the court for an order for the trial of Justice Faji for allegedly perverting the course of justice in his case.

Besides, General Tijjani prayed the court to compel the Chief Justice of Nigeria to remove the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on Mr Adeniji and further de-bar him for alleged act of misconduct.

In a 19 paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, he averred that a former Attorney General of Lagos State, Abdulraheem Ade Ipaye now Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, allegedly converted his landed properties in Shasha-Akowonjo Area in Alimosho local government of Lagos State to his personal gain.

He said as a result he approached a Federal High Court and got judgment in his favour on January 31, 2014.

Plaintiff however said that the judgment could not be executed because of the alleged sabotage on the part of Lagos State officials.

But delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Ekwo, held that the suit was incompetent and consequently dismissed it.

Meanwhile, hearing in the plaintiff’s application for the transmission of the Federal High Court’s record to the appellate court has been adjourned to November 25, 2020.

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