By Eken Agbor, Osogbo
For failing to appear before a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun state, in a chieftaincy matter, a bench warrant of arrest was on Tuesday issued against a first class traditional ruler in the state, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi.
Chief Magistrate Olusola Aluko while issuing the order in the case filed against Oba Akanbi by another traditional ruler in the state, the Oluwo of Iwo-Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye, asked the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the monarch is apprehended and brought before him.
Oba Adeoye had approached the court, accusing the monarch of concealing some facts about his past to the state government when he (Oba Akanbi) was installed as the traditional ruler of Iwo kingdom, about a year ago.
At the last sitting of the court on December 2, 2016, the Chief Magistrate, Aluko, had threatened to issue a bench warrant for Oba Akanbi’s arrest if he failed to appear before him in compliance with the order of the court on November 25, 2016.
When the case came up yesterday, the applicant, Oba Adeoye, was in court, the Oluwo of Iwo who sent another monarch, Ologburo of Ogburo, Oba Asimiyu Sadiq, to represent him during the last sitting was absent again, prompting Chief Magistrate Aluko to issue the warrant of arrest against Oba Akanbi.
Meanwhile, counsel to the Oluwo of Iwo-Oke, Barrister Soji Oyetayo, in his submission, had urged the court not to entertain any of the applications filed by the respondent until he complies with the order of the court.
He said, “The first respondent (Oba Akanbi) filed an application of stay of proceeding yesterday afternoon, so, I am of the opinion that he is not ready to move any application today.”
“Meanwhile, the court made an order on 25th November, 2016 and up till now the order has not been complied with. The application asking for a stay of proceeding cannot stay the order already made.
“The order of the court is meant to be obeyed. The non-appearance of the first respondent in this matter is a flagrant disobedient of the order of the court,” Barrister Oyetayo submitted.
But counsel to Oba Akanbi, Barrister Olayide Yekeen, explained that his client submitted the notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case on November 15, adding that by careful perusal of the State Magistrate Law, Section 19:1, the court could not entertain the matter.
Yekeen said, “It is the threshold of all cases that whenever the issue of jurisdiction is raised, it is to be taken first. On the issue of jurisdiction and the competence of the case, the respondent has the right to be heard first before any enquiry can be made in the matter.
Delivering his ruling, Chief Magistrate Aluko stated that he agreed with the respondent’s counsel that the issue of jurisdiction must be treated first.
“On the order of the court made on November 25th 2016, the order remains. I hereby issue a bench warrant against the 1st respondent, while the matter is adjourned to December 27, 2016.”
Recall that Oluwo-Oke in a 33-paragraph affidavit had alleged that Oba Akanbi’s character did not befit a person of his status and calibre as he was used to carrying armed thugs, miscreants and hoodlums around to harass, intimidate, molest and attack persons whom he perceived as his enemies.
He further alleged that Oba Akanbi forged his name to obtain travelling documents to the United States where he was jailed in New York City and deported to Nigeria in year 2000.
He added that Oba Akanbi later travelled out with his real name to Canada in 2001 and became a Canadian citizen but was arrested in Toronto and was in jail between 2006 and 2007.
He said these facts were concealed from the state government which appointed and installed him as the Oluwo of Iwo.
He also accused him of currently making money through the internet fraud otherwise known as “Yahoo Yahoo” and was using his palace as a cover-up.
But Oba Akanbi reacted to the allegations in a 13-paragraph affidavits through the Aremo of Iwo land, Chief Adelani Akanbi, who described the application filed against the Oluwo of Iwo as scandalous, vexations and designed to embarrass, blackmail and ridicule the monarch in the views of right- thinking members of the society.