In a startling turn of events, DATKEM, the company entangled in the controversial demolition of DATKEM Plaza in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, has taken decisive legal action against key officials from the Ogun State Planning Permit Authority and the Ministry of Physical Planning.
The company’s lawyer, A. M. Kotoye, SAN, has initiated proceedings seeking to hold the General Manager of the Ogun State Planning and Development Permit Authority, TPL Idowu James, a Permanent Secretary in the office of the state’s Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engineer Abiodun, and the Zonal Officer of the agency, Tommy Hamzat, in contempt of court.
This legal move is a direct response to allegations that these officials disobeyed a court order that explicitly directed them to maintain the status quo regarding the contentious demolition of DATKEM Plaza.
The controversy surrounding DATKEM Plaza began when it was demolished under questionable circumstances at 2:00 am on Sunday, September 10, 2023. Subsequently, on Monday, September 11, 2023, the court issued an order instructing all parties involved to refrain from taking any further action regarding the property and requested DATKEM to provide an application detailing the current state of the plaza. The court’s directive also explicitly restrained the respondents from interfering with the property.
However, DATKEM alleges that the officials continued their activities at the partially demolished DATKEM Plaza, disregarding the court’s clear and positive orders. To hold these officials accountable for their alleged contempt, DATKEM’s lawyer filed Form 35, a notification of the consequences of disobedience to a court order, which seeks to commit the alleged contemnors to prison until they purge themselves of the contempt.
Despite being served with the court order on September 12, 2023, DATKEM claims that the officials have continued to visit the property, demonstrating what they perceive as a blatant disregard for the court’s orders. Furthermore, allegations have surfaced that the officials stationed armed personnel in front of the property in defiance of the court order.
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State had earlier described the court proceedings as frivolous, raising concerns about attempts to undermine the judicial process.
The outcome of this legal action will be closely watched, as it has the potential to set a precedent for future cases involving disobedience of court orders. “We’re hopeful that the court will take the necessary steps to enforce its orders and ensure that justice is served in this matter,” Kotoye stated.