The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin yesterday refused to quash the interlocutory injunction which barred the Okomu Oil Palm from further destruction of farmlands currently occupied by Cocoa Farmers settlers in Area BC 10 Forest Reserve at Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State.
It said the application filed by the Okomu Oil Palm Company lacked merit.
Justice U. I. Erameh of the Edo State High Court sitting in Okada had slammed the interlocutory injunction against the Okomu Oil Palm Plc and its Managing Director, Dr. Graham Heifer in a suit filed by the Cocoa Farmers (Hassan Tajudeen, Fatai Oyelaji, Alhajij Ganiyu Eniola, Pastor C. O. Osunlakin on behalf of themselves and Yoruba Cocoa Farmers in Area BC 10, Okomu Forest Reserve).
Delivering judgment in the appeal, Justice U. A. Ogakwu, who read the judgment on behalf of Justice P.M. Ekpe and Justice H.A. Barka said the application lacked merit and was incompetent.
Justice Ogakwu who affirmed the decision of the lower court also granted restorative order against the appellant.
Ogwaku held that it was incurable and ineffective for the appellant to raise fresh grounds of appeal and urged the appellant to abide by the consequential order of the court.
The presiding judge lamented the failure of the counsel to the appellant to give proper advice when the appellant resorted to self-help and further embarked on the destruction of the cocoa farmland, in spite of the order earlier slammed on the appellant, which he described as fait accompli.
He said: “There is an enduring need to ensure that the sanctity of law is obeyed. The appellant has no locus to raise fresh ground of appeal. The injunction succeeds to forestall further injuries on the respondents.”