For blatantly disregarding the Nigerian Judicial system and exhibiting a character that negates ethics, norms and privileges of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Muiz Banire is to be docked for obstructing the enforcement of an Appellate Court Judgment with N0: CA/L/365/2004.
Banire, who is a former commissioner in Lagos and former All Progressive Congress, APC Legal Adviser is alleged to be using his influence as APC chieftain to denigrate and subordinate the judgment delivered by a court of competent jurisdiction. The Lagos-based politician is facing contempt of court charges.
This, according to NICON Trustees Limited emanated from a memo written by the Surveyor-General of Lagos State dated on 3rd July, 2020. Banire is said to be the brain behind the decision of this Lagos agency to supplant the decision of the Appeal Court and replace it with administrative communications from non-judicial bodies.
The legal tango between Banire and NICON Trustees Limited sprouted from an appeal court judgment on the 25th October, 2016 where the court upheld the decision by NICON Trustees to appoint a Receiver over the 150 plots of land situated in Lekki area of Lagos state which Alma Beach Estates Limited used as collateral to secure a loan from NICON Trustees.
On the 20th of February 1991, a Debenture Trust Deed registered as 75/75/1949 executed between Nicon Trustees Limited and Grand Alma Nigeria Limited (Now Alma Beach Estates) which by its clause 7.01 conveyed 150 plots of land out of the larger parcels of land to secure a loan gave the creditor by clause 16 the right to appoint a Receiver over the 150 plots and realize the debt upon default.
In 2003, after consistent failure to repay and breaches of the covenants in the Trust Deed, Nicon Trustees Limited appointed a Receiver in the person of Mogbeyi Sagay SAN who gave notice of his appointment to the Alma Beach Estates, the debtor company and with the co-operation of the debtor company, surveyed the 150 plots of land out of the larger Estate.
Abah Onah. A legal practitioner and NICON Trustees Receiver’s Manager argued that “It is instructive and it is the Law that once a Receiver is appointed by virtue of a Debenture Trust Deed, the debtor company and its organs become paralyzed”.
Alma Beach Estates filed a legal action against NICON in 2003 before the Lagos High Court claiming that it had no right to appoint a Receiver over the conveyed assets. The company succeeded in obtaining injunctions from the High Court restraining NICON and its Receiver from acting.
NICON appealed the Lagos High Court decision, claiming it is an infraction of the Law. And in case N0: CA/L/365/2004, the appeal which lasted for 13 years, the Court of Appeal on 25th October, 2016 in its judgement upheld the Receivership of NICON. The Appeal Court struck out the originating Suit by Alma Beach Limited, ruling that a debtor loses locus standi to sue or deal with the assets upon the appointment of a Receiver. This Judgment, according to NICON has not been set aside or appealed till date. Instead, Muiz Banire, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is hired and has acted in a manner totally strange to the law of our land and is practically obstructing the wheel of justice.
Armed with this long-awaited Relief from the Appeal Court, NICON appointed a new Receiver Manager, Abah Onah, as a replacement to Mogbeyi Sagay who is now late. And in August, 2017, the company got orders to execute the judgment of the appeal court. NICON also filled the reports of execution of the court order which were made available to our correspondent.
All other legal and illegal approaches executed by Alma Beach Estates, the debtor company, were unsuccessful as NICON Trustees, according to Onah, are in possession of all judgments that have sanctioned the possession by the Receiver of the 150 plots conveyed in the Debenture Trust Deed.
Lamenting the prolonged litigation as one of the factors that scare investors away from Nigeria, Onah called on the police to discharge its constitutional mandate, asserting that the Police is bound by section 287(2) of the Nigerian Constitution to enforce the Judgments without any equivocation.
According to the Receiver’s Manager, “our debtor now takes succour from Muiz Banire who is influencing the officials of Lagos state governments to pervert the judgment of the truth”.
The Receiver’s Manager claimed that Banire’s recent media outbursts on the matter suggests that he might be responsible for the violent attacks on him (Onah) and his staff by guys suspected to be cultists who consistently molest and physically assault him and his staff.
He argued that in a manner that warrants the contempt of court litigation, Banire led a team of his boys to the Lagos State Police Command, Challenging the authority of the Appeal Court Judgment before the Police Commissioner. It was gathered that Banire had told the police to jettison the Appeal Court Judgment and respect a memo by the office of the Surveyor-General of Lagos State over a case that has been judged without appeal by a competent court in Nigeria.
Barrister Onah stated that Banire has been abusing his personality in his various public utterances and media comments, calling him all sorts of unprintable names. He also clarified that Banire’s recent press statements on the matter are strewn with falsehood and meant to overawe the police, whom he said is aware of Banire’s nocturnal plans to carry out attacks on the disputed assets.
He lamented that Banire’s continuous use of some forces within Lagos must be challenged before the court of law, claiming that his violent denigration and contempt of the Court of Appeal’s judgment has put his life, and the lives of his staff, his assignees and the lawyers of NICON Trustees at risk as they are now been hounded and harassed by thugs and cultists.
“These actions of Muiz Banire, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria are a violent and flagrant disobedience to Nigeria’s judiciary system and he ought to be punished. It’s a gross violation to his profession as a lawyer and an affront to the administration of justice” Abah Onah submitted.