A Magistrate Court, sitting in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, has issued a bench warrant against the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Adewale Akanbi, following the monarch’s refusal to appear in court in a case instituted by the Oluwo of Iwo Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye.
The implication of the bench warrant, according to lawyers, is that the monarch should be arrested and brought before the court at its next adjourned sitting.
Although Oba Akanbi was represented in court on Tuesday by his counsel, Mr. Olaide Yekeen, Magistrate Olusola Aluko issued the bench warrant despite the application for a stay of proceeding, notice of preliminary objection and a notice of appeal filed before the court.
Oba Akanbi, the paramount ruler of Iwoland, was dragged before the court by the Oluwo of Iwo Oke, for alleged criminal offences.
The magistrate had, at the last sitting of the court on December 2, threatened to issue a bench warrant on the monarch if he refused to appear in court on Tuesday (yesterday). Counsel for Oba Akanbi had told the court that his client had several applications before the court, adding that the notice of preliminary objection, which bordered on competence and jurisdiction of the court, should be heard first before the substantive application.
He said Section 19 (1) of the Magistrate Court Laws highlighted the jurisdiction of the court, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.
“When there is an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, such application should be taken first. We are vehemently and seriously challenging the competence and jurisdiction of this court and our applications should be taken first,” he said.
But counsel for the applicant, Soji Oyetayo, in his submission, told the court that the court made an order which the Oluwo had refused to comply with.
He stated that the applications, filed by the first respondent (the Oluwo) could not stop the order of the court that the monarch should appear before it.
“I urge the court to jettison the applications. They have to obey the earlier order of the court. The first respondent should be in court today but he is not in a flagrant disobedience of the court order,” he said.
The magistrate, in his ruling, agreed with the respondent (the Oluwo) on the issue of jurisdiction, but said the notice of appeal was not ripe.
He said, “The court mandated the first respondent to appear in court. He has violated the court order of the last adjourned date. I hereby issue a bench warrant against him.”
The counsel for Oluwo, while speaking with journalists on the court premises, said the applications for a stay of proceedings, notice of appeal and application on the jurisdiction of the court, ought to have been heard first before the magistrate issued the bench warrant.
Yekeen stated that the authorities he cited during the hearing should suffice, adding that even in a case of contempt of court, the court should hear such objections first.
He argued that the order was made in error.
Yekeen added, “As it is, what we have is that we are following the due process of the law and we believe that the law should be and grow and it should be allowed to follow the due process.
“If a doctor makes a mistake, the mistake is buried six feet under the ground but if a lawyer or a judge makes a mistake, the mistake will be inherited by generations unborn. That is what we have today.”