From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has asked the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to reject the request by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to withdraw from a suit filed against its former President, Kabir Ibrahim.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo has deferred the hearing in the matter to October 20.
At the resumed hearing on the case on Monday, Counsel to AFAN, Modibbo Bakari, informed the court of his readiness to file a counter affidavit to challenge the move.
AFAN had on May 11 sued Ibrahim and his dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) over his alleged refusal to hand over the association’s assets and property.
Ibrahim was said to have been elected into office in 2014 in accordance with Article 13 of the Constitution of the organisation which provides a five-year single term for every elected executive member.
Ibrahim, whose tenure as AFAN president expired in June 2019, was alleged to have been parading himself as the leader of the association in recent times.
While the former president is listed as 1st defendant in the case, the IG was sued as 2nd defendant.
When the matter was called, lawyer to the I-, Victor Okoye, informed the court that he had a motion on notice, seeking for the court order striking out the name of the 2nd defendant (I-G) from the suit for failure of the applicant to disclose any reasonable cause of action why his client should be joined.
He said the motion, dated Sept. 24, was filed the same day.
Okoye said that lawyers to AFAN and Ibrahim had been served.
Bakari, who confirmed the service of the motion, however, said he was only served with the application ‘this morning’ (Monday morning) and he would need a short time to respond appropriately.
His application was not opposed by other counsel, including A.O. Ekeya, who represented Ibrahim in the case.
Justice Taiwo adjourned the matter until Oct 20 for a hearing of the applicant’s counter-affidavit.
Speaking to reporters after the matter, Bakari stressed that he would oppose the I-G’s request to withdraw from the suit and would also ask for a restraining order, stopping the I-G and his agents from continuing to harass his client, pending the determination of the suit.
‘I was only served with the motion this morning and the rules of court provide that I have a minimum of two working days to react to any motion serve on us.
‘We will not have opposed the application but with the recent development of constant harassment on the plaintiffs who have been doing their legitimate work despite the pendency of this matter in court.
‘The police have been harassing them under the disguise that they are coming from I-G’s while I made several petitions to I-G’s office appealing for them to respect the pending matter and the I-G’s office received our letters.
‘At a time, the lawyer representing I-G in the matter also called me that they have stayed action in respect of the petition written by Architect Kabir, the former president of AFAN, whose tenure has expired and who is the 1st defendant in the matter.
‘But they resurfaced again and intensified harassment against the plaintiff.
‘With this development, it will not be saved to allow I-G’s office to withdraw from the matter.
“Therefore, we will oppose it and we will ask the court to give restraining orders against the office of the I-G and his agents of the police until the determination of this suit,’ he said.
AFAN had in the originating summon filed by Bakari asked the court to stop Ibrahim-led NWC from parading themselves as executive members of the association.
The lawyer wanted the court to determine whether, by virtue of the established law of AFAN, the 1st defendants, whose tenure expired in June 2019 is still vested with powers to manage and run the affairs of the association.
Bakari sought ‘a declaration of this honourable court that by the combined effect of Article 13.1 of the Constitution of the AFAN and Section 593 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1 Cap. C20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the 1st defendants who were inaugurated in June 2014 had served their single term of 5 years whose tenure expired in June 2019,’ among others.
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