The Ondo State Police Command on Wednesday arraigned the Olugele of Ugele community in the Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Clement Aladegbaye, at an Akure Magistrate’s Court for allegedly sponsoring the destruction of some property belonging to the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure.
The property allegedly destroyed by the traditional ruler was said to be worth millions of naira.
He was arraigned on six counts.
It was gathered that the traditional ruler entered into the land to execute the judgement of the state High Court of 2012, which declared him the owner of the land.
However, the college challenged the judgment at the Court of Appeal, but the appellate court had yet to deliver judgement on the case.
The charges against the monarch read in part, “That you, Clement Aladegbaye, and others now at large, between April 3 and June 20, at about 8am at the Benin Garage end of the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, in the Akure Magisterial District, did forcibly enter into a parcel of land in actual and peaceable possession of the Federal College of Agriculture in a wrongful bid to enforce declaratory judgment in Suit No. AK/279/2012 by self-help, without obtaining Order of Possession and Writ of Possession of the land, in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 81 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Volume 1, Law of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2016.”
“That you, Clement Aladegbaye, and others now at large, in the aforementioned place, date and time in the Akure Magisterial District, did enter into the Federal College of Agriculture with a bulldozer and other implements in a wrongful bid to enforce declaratory judgment in Suit No. AK/279/2012 by self-help without obtaining Order of Possession and Writ of Possession of the land, thereupon (1) destroyed rocks earmarked for quarry activities valued at N5m; (2) destroyed 40 border plants planted in 1950s valued at N10m; (3) destroyed 3,000m conserved Teak plantation valued at N150m; (4)illegally felled and carted away 1,000 conserved forest timbers valued at N80m; (5) destroyed demonstration farms used for students’ practical learning valued at N100m; totalling N345m, being property of the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 451 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Volume 1, Law of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.”
The accused did not make any plea as his counsel, Mr. Dapo Agbede, argued that the court had no power to hear the case because there was a subsisting judgement over the matter at an upper court.
He said, “The case has been determined by the higher court The higher court has adjudged the man (Aladegbaye) as the real owner of the land.”
But the counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. Dan Olawale, raised an objection, saying the argument of Agbede was premature.
He added that the accused could be tried at the magistrate court.
The magistrate, Mrs. A.I Ajayi observed that there were many mistakes in the charge and ruled that the status quo should remain on the land pending the time the court would rule on the plea of the accused.
She said, “I will not remand him (accused), I will release him until the day of the ruling.”
She subsequently adjourned the case till July 5, 2017.