Nigeria News

NIGERIA: NJC petitioned over execution of judgment

Lagos lawyer, Mr.Femi Falana, SAN, has asked the National Judicial Council, NJC, to probe the circumstances behind the execution of a judgment bordering on the ownership of a parcel of land in Asokoro area of Abuja, the federal capital territory.

In a petition, which was copied to the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, Justice Lawal Gummi, the lawyer requested the authority to examine how one Mr. Imonkhuede Ohikhuare, who he said owned the land and the N1bn property built on it was ejected from the property.

Falana said Ohikhuare was forcibly evicted from the house upon a warrant of possession issued by Justice A.S. Umar of the FCT High Court, while an appeal against the judgment and an application for stay of execution were pending at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.

Faulting the execution of the judgment delivered by Justice Umar on May 17, 2012, Falana said, “The judge did not only issue a warrant of possession before the time allowed by law, but he also deliberately issued a warrant of possession when none ought to have been issued at all. This is nothing but a naked abuse of judicial power.”

Criticizing the order of the court, the lawyer argued that the writ of possession issued by the court was only appropriate for a judgment obtained against a tenant by his landlord or for recovery of possession of premises.

He submitted, “It is a land matter dispute and the judgment  the plaintiff was given against the defendants was not for delivery up of possession of premises which belonged to the plaintiff, a landlord, but held over by a recalcitrant tenant.

“Assuming, without accepting that the judgment contained an order for possession, along with the declaratory, mandatory and injunctive reliefs granted by the judge, that order for possession can only be enforced pursuant to the Sheriff and Civil Process Act, and the Judgment Enforcement Rules, made thereunder, with requisite Forms being used in the circumstances.”

He added that it was illegal for the judge to have issued a writ of possession within, “only six days (including Saturday and Sunday)”, instead of fourteen days after delivery of judgment, as stipulated by law.

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