By David Oladimeji
The Registered Trustees of Osborne and Foreshore Residents Association, Lagos, have urged the Federal High Court in the state to commit to prison the Chief Executive Officer of Lekki Gardens Estate Limited, Richard Nyong for allegedly disobeying an order of the court.
The residents, in a committal application filed through their counsel, Kemi Pinheiro are also urging the court to jail the Project Manager of the construction firm, Kehinde Dawodu for allegedly disobeying the stop work order issued on the company by the court.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo had on July 9, 2021 granted an interim injunction restraining Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd and Foreshore Waters Ltd from carrying out any further construction, development or building activities in Osborne Foreshore Estate II, Ikoyi, Lagos.
But in the affidavit attached to the application, the residents claimed that the two alleged contemnors in total disregard for the order of the court have continued to work on the site.
The residents association also asked the court for an order cordoning off the estate 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 are also asked the court for an order directing the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 Command to, through his officers, to immediately arrest, detain and produce before the Court, any contractors and or workers, save security personnel, found on the properties being developed by both Nyong and Engineer Dawodu within the Estate or any other property currently being developed by the Respondents within Osborne Foreshore Estate II, Ikoyi, Lagos.
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 plaintiffs/applicants in an affidavit deposed to by Ifeoma Maduakor, an Admin Manager of the Osborne Foreshore Phase II Residents’ Association, averred that on July 9, 2021 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, pening 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 the 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 Defendant) 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 of 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 the suit, until set aside or discharged by a court of competent jurisdiction.
She further stated 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 deponent added that 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 on Wednesday, all the defendants through their Counsel, Mr. T. Oshobi (SAN), challenged the interim order issued by the court on Jurisdiction ground.
Justice Oweibo after listening to arguments from parties in the matter adjourned till August 10, for ruling.