Court strikes out AG’s processes against Ondo farmers

Ondo State High Court, sitting in Ore, Odigbo Local Government, has struck out the memorandum of appearance and statement of defence filed by attorney aeneral in a case involving 10,000 cocoa farmers, the state, and Sao Agro-Allied Services Limited.

The farmers operating at Oluwa Forest Reserve sued the firm and state over their eviction from the forest reserve.

At the resumed hearing of the case filed by the farmers’ counsel, Tope Temokun, Justice Aderemi Adegoroye, said the court was confronted by the issue of the right person to represent the state.

The firm’s counsel, Olajide Ajana, announced his appearance for the state and applied to withdraw processes filed by the Office of the AG, including a Memorandum of Appearance, Statement of Defence, and counter-affidavits.

But Temokun objected, arguing that the action was an abuse of court process and could not be granted in the absence of tha AG’s  authority.

Temokun said under Section 168 (1) of the Evidence Act, the presumption of regularity could only be countered with solid evidence, like a signed fiat, or through withdrawal of the AG’s filed processes by an official from its office.

Justice Adegoroye struck out the separate processes, which include memorandum of appearance and statement of defence, filed by the office of the AG.

He adjourned the case to May 28, 2024 for further hearing.

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