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UNIBEN Saga: I’ll resign and go back to my village if… – Edo Attorney General

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Edo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Henry Idahiagbon has debunked claims by the authorities of the University of Benin that the state government recovered 18 properties belonging to it despite the service of an application for a stay of execution of a court judgment in the government’s favour.

Henry Idahiagbon, Edo State Attorney General
Henry Idahiagbon, Edo State Attorney General

According to the Attorney-General, the government never got any service of stay of execution.

He said, “As I speak, the four respondents involved in this case which include the Edo State Government, the Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Attorney-General of the State and the Commissioner for Lands have not been served with any court processes since the 16th day of December, 2014 when judgment was given.

“I also want to state categorically that if the University of Benin and their counsel are able to show proof of service of any application for stay of execution of judgment on any of the four respondents, I Henry Idahagbon will resign as Attorney-General of Edo State and go back to my village to farm.

“They may have filed, that I am not aware because after filing, they have to serve. It is the service of court processes that invokes the jurisdiction of court. Until a party is served, the party is known before court and since the 16th of December when judgment was given, the case at the High Court effectively ended.

“If they are starting any appellate process, the four people, that is, the respondents mentioned earlier must be served personally and none of us have been served.”

Barrister Idahagbon further clarified that what was done by the State Government was not a demolition exercise but a possession exercise in pursuant to the court judgment stressing that the court gave judgment that UNIBEN and the occupants of the buildings should deliver possession forthwith.

He said, “Every hour after the delivery of that judgment, they ought to have parked their properties and given up the possession, but instead, they were insinuating that they are federal government, that they have a hundred thousand students. For goodness sake, this country is still being run by the rule of law and no institution of government, no matter how powerful, no matter the number of persons under your control can be bigger than the government or the law.”

The Attorney-General further added, “Those living in the lodge were given quit notices since 2011 and the court rightly held that they were not tenants to Edo State Government but that they were licencee.

He said in 1981, UNIBEN had gone to court on the same matter where late Justice Ugbobine also gave judgment that the property does not belong to the University of Benin.

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