THIS may not be the best of time for a society woman, Mrs. Folashade Abiodun Omotade and widow of a former permanent secretary in the Federal civil service, Mr. Deji Omotade, who has a bench warrant order by a Lagos High Court, Ikeja hanging on her.
The bench warrant is unconnected with a supremacy battle in the management of the estate of the deceased. With the order recently made by Justice L.A.F Oluyemi, a criminal angle has been introduced into the litigation, which started as a civil matter within the family.
Following the death of Deji Omotade, there have been allegations and counter-allegations, as a divide of the family accuses the other of illegally single-handedly dealing with the family property at the detriment of the other divide.
The arrest, issued by a Lagos High Court, is against the widow of late Deji Omotade, who died in the ill-fated Bell Air crash of October 23, 2005, Mrs. Folashade Abiodun Omotade, enmeshed in battle of supremacy over the estate of the deceased.
While the civil cast lasted, the counsel to the claimants, who alleged the possibility of tampering with the res, urged the court to make an order retraining all parties to maintain statue quo concerning all the properties pending the hearing and determination of the matter. One of the properties being contested is located at 5a and b, Kayode Alli Street, Omo Phse 1, Lagos.
Besides, to forestall disposing any of the properties, the claimants had sought an order restraining and preventing Folasade and her agents from selling, disposing off and or leasing the property at Omole Phase I and an order directing and or mandating the Registrar of the court and or the Deputy Sheriff to put the property under lock and key and deposit same with the court pending the determination of the case.
Consequently, Justice Williams Dawodu, had on July 10, 2006 granted the restraining application wherein the she ordered that parties shall maintain the status quo pending the determination of the interlocutory application.
Spirited to ensure the res is further protected, on July 3rd, 2014, Messrs,’ Kayode Molade, who represented the second defendant/counter-claimant, applied orally for the extension of the restraining order to preserve the res.
It was on record that Messrs. Akinwale Irokosu counsel to the claimants/respondents and Chief G.O. Okusanya representing the first defendant and Miss Deborah Owoyemi for the fifth defendant/respondent were in court and did not oppose the application.
Then, Justice Oluyem ordered: “As all the counsel concur on the need to preserve the res i.e. No. 5A & 5b Kayode Alli Street, Omole Phase 1, Ikeja; and first defendant’s (Falashade) counsel not objecting to oral application of claimants’ counsel to have the rents accruing in respect of the said res paid to this Honourable Court, it is hereby ordered as follows: By the agreement of all the counsel Motion Exparte and Motion on Notice both dated 26th June, 2014 are compromised.
First defendant (Folashade) and in deed all the parties, their agent, servants, privies etc are hereby restrained from selling, disposing off, assigning and or leasing the property situate and known as No. 5A and 5B, Kayode Alli Street, Omole Phase 1 pending final determination of this suit.
Any accrued rent, should the property be rented out, shall henceforth be paid to the office of the Chief Registrar of this Honourable Court, who shall keep such payments in an interest yielding account and to remain until the final determination of this suit.”
But few months after the fresh restraining order, the claimants’ lawyer approached the court, alleging disobedience of its order by Folashade, who was accused to have gone ahead to sell the property to one Mr. Raphael Adeyemi and Mrs Abimbola Aina for a sum of N55, evidenced by an undated deed of assignment between Princess Abiodun Folashade Madojutimi Omotade and the Ainas.
This prompted contempt proceeding against her, leading the court issuing the warrant of arrest against her. Before issuing the warrant, Justice Oluyemi having heard one Francis Akinlotan counsel to the claimants/respondents and Kayode Molade of counsel to the second defendant/counter-claimant/applicant, Gabriel Osikoya, counsel to the fifth defendant/respondent and Augustine Akeh, representative of parties seeking to be joined held: Order Bench Warrant to be and same is hereby issued against the first defendant/contempnor, Miss Folashade Abiodun Adesokan (aka) Mrs. Omotade for her arrest by any enforcement agency/agent in Nigeria; and to remain in prison custody when apprehended till the next hearing date, which is 23rd September, 2015 for hearing of the contempt proceedings.”
However, the defendant, Folasade however averred that she remains the only surviving wife of the deceased with three children and that the first claimant, Grace, was a mere concubine and in the course of her co-habitation with the deceased claimed to have had 3 children for the deceased.
According to her, she is the rightful and beneficial owner of the property, which she claimed to have purchased from one Robinson Omorere for the sum of N60m, which she paid in three installments.
The sale, in her averment, was allegedly ratified by the said original holder of the certificate of occupancy, Mr. Olumide Ayinde Akinola Okikiolu, who was said to have agreed to execute the Deeds of Assignment in her favor in order to cure the defects in the title of her predecessor-in-title.