The Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, the state capital, on Friday, adjourned till March 20, 2020, a suit filed by the Oyo State Government seeking to restrain the sacked chairmen of local governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) from forcefully taking over the councils in the state.
The court, presided by Justice Mashood Abass, adjourned the matter to further allow the parties in the crisis to pursue the option of amicable settlement.
The option of amicable settlement was kick-started following an application for out-of-court settlement filed on February 5, 2020.
An earlier extension of time to pursue the out-of-Court settlement was given on February 12, 2020, following another adjournment.
The Oyo State government had earlier secured an interim injunction restraining the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Command, the Oyo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the sacked 68 chairmen of local governments and LCDAs from forcefully taking over the local government secretariats in the state, pending the hearing of the matter on notice.
Justice Abass gave the ruling on the adjournment on Friday following presentations from the counsels of the state government, Chief Akin Onigbinde (SAN) and that of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Chief Kunle Sobaloju, in which both parties agreed that progress was being made on the out-of-court settlement option being explored by the parties.
In his submission, the counsel to the state government said the parties were making progress, noting that the government has made its offer to the relevant parties and that time should be given for proper consideration.
He said: “We are making progress, both judicially and in terms of the resolution of the issues before the court. We have an offer and we have made it available to the relevant parties.
“Everybody is on the same page that time should be given for due and proper consideration of the issues before the court. We have made some progress together. My expectation is that all of these matters will be reasonably considered and resolved by all the parties involved.
“The state on its side has been very fair in its consideration of the plight and condition of the defendants. And the state is willing to deal with everybody as citizen of the state, not as outsiders.”
Similarly, the ALGON counsel informed that his client had been handed the government’s terms of settlement, noting that the sacked chairmen would make their proposal known to the government before the next adjourned date.
Sobaloju said: “The claimants’ leading counsel sent their proposed terms of settlement to me.
“Immediately I received it, I sent it to the executive council of ALGON so that they can look at it and make their own position known, so that we can also forward it to them.
“When you are trying to settle, usually the two set of counsels have to exchange proposed terms of settlements. If you look at it and there is need to concede one way or the other, we will sort that out until we reach a final decision. So, that is the process we are going through now.”
Sobaloju maintained that the sacked chairmen would make their terms known to the government, saying, “we are going to make our terms known to them. If our terms are acceptable to them, why not? All parties must encourage the spirit of settlement. The only way there will be no settlement is if both sides are not prepared to yield to one another.
“We will make our proposal known to them. If they have any clause that they are not agreeable to, they would let us know. Since we have received theirs, we will also look at it. If there is anything within the terms of settlement that is not acceptable to us, we will let them know.”