A Lagos State High Court, sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Thursday barred the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) from arresting the richest monarch, Elegushi of Ikate Kingdom in Lagos, Oba Shaheed Ademola Elegushi, and two others.
Justice Gafar Safari ruled that the order subsists pending the hearing and determination of a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by them.
The judge made the order in a suit by the monarch and two members of the Elegushi royal family – Chief Abdulahi Elegushi and Prince Akeem Elegushi – accusing the defendants of harassment, manhunt and attempt to arrest them over a civil land matter.
Joined alongside the IGP are Bela Vista Property and Development Company Ltd; Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kolo Yusuf; DSP Ibrahim Agu; one Supol Udofia and the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice as the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th respondents respectively.
The royal family have also accused the respondents of an alleged plot to grab land belonging to the family at the Eti-Osa Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The applicants alleged that while the suit is pending the defendants resorted to self-help, including by detailing mobile policemen from Mopol 46 to the land with instruction to arrest any member of Elegushi royal family found anywhere on or near the land.
They further accused the police IG of forging a police report that was presented to the court ceding the ownership of their land to Bela Vista property.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, the monarch and his co-applicants, through their lawyer, Mrs Adepeju Omotayo informed the judge that the police had sent its men to Ikate seeking to arrest them in order to frustrate the case before the court.
But the first respondent’s counsel, Anthony Osara denied that the police had sent its men to arrest the applicants.
The counsel to the second to fifth respondents, Victor Okoye, also urged the court to discountenance the applicants’ request for a restraining order, adding that the police were never deployed to the house of the royal family to arrest anybody.
In a bench ruling, Justice Safari ordered all the parties to maintain the status quo and refrain from doing anything to frustrate the proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
He adjourned till August 17, for a hearing.