The Suit challenging the alleged criminal intention to convert a multi-million naira property located at No. 24A, Ikoyi Crescent, Lagos, belonging to Chief Ralph Obioha, purportedly by Mr. Yomi Tokosi, was adjourned by the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja last Thursday, and new hearing date has been set for October 31, 2023.
In Suit No. LD/2025C/2022, Justice Nicole Clay (presiding Judge of Ikeja High Court 3) granted the application for adjournment moved by Victor Opara (SAN), who is Counsel to Obioha.
This application was made due to the counter affidavit prepared and filed by the opposing counsel on the same Thursday morning.
During a press conference at the court premises, Opara emphasized that the court’s jurisdiction was challenged after the legal process was served on the State a while ago. However, a counter affidavit was recently served, compelling him to proceed with the case.
“As you are aware, I just came into the matter and I need time to study the case and apprise myself with the counter affidavit. So, based on the fact that we were served with the process this morning, a Fait-Accompli was foisted on us. So, I made two applications in the court that I will look at the application, to know whether l will move it as it is or to file a fresh one because of certain developments that has happened.”
“I understand from my client that this matter came up in the Magistrate court penultimate Wednesday, after a legal advice had been issued that the matter be prosecuted in the High court, and that the Magistrate court even adjourned the case for prosecution. That was a big surprise because that does not align with the discussions I had with the senior members of Lagos State Judiciary.
“My understanding is that once a matter has been taken to the High Court, upon the legal advice referring the matter to the High Court, the lower court automatically terminates. So, I prefer to play safe, to look at the processes to know what to do. So what we have done is for the court to adjourn because it’s a case of Fait-Accompli”, Opara stated.
According to our correspondent’s investigation, it was discovered that Chief Obioha acquired a plot of land measuring 1,021 square meters located at No.24A Ikoyi Crescent, Lagos from the late Ben Enwonwu in 1991. He then engaged the services of Multi-Projects, a construction company led by Ademola Odutola, who was the managing director at that time, to commence construction on the land.
However, the construction work faced interruptions due to conflicts among Enwonwu’s siblings and the political crisis of 1994, which resulted in Chief Obioha’s exile. His involvement in the June 12, 1993 presidential election as a NADECO (National Democratic Coalition) leader contributed to his exile. He eventually returned to Nigeria in 1998.
Further investigation revealed that prior to his exile, Chief Obioha appointed Yomi Tokosi as the Managing Director (MD) of his company, First African Trust Bank, which is now defunct. Tokosi managed the business while Chief Obioha was in exile until his return to the country in 1998.
Our correspondent’s inquiry also uncovered that the Nigeria Police Force (FCIID) Area 10 Garki Abuja had conducted an investigation into the matter, and a certified copy of the report revealed significant information. The police investigation confirmed a longstanding relationship between Chief Obioha and Tokosi dating back to 1993. It also established that Obiorah appointed Tokosi as the MD of First African Trust Bank in 1993 and that Obioha purchased the aforementioned plot of land in July 1991, among other findings.
The police investigation concluded that Tokosi never disputed Obioha’s ownership of the land. However, it revealed that Tokosi harbored malicious intentions and greed to exploit the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) and Chief Obiorah’s exile in order to wrongfully claim ownership of the land and the building. According to the report, Tokosi pursued this takeover attempt through malicious prosecution and harassment of Chief Obioha.