Court restates ban on UNILAG name change

A Federal High Court, Ikeja on Wednesday reaffirmed its earlier interim order restraining the Federal Government and other concerned authorities from changing the name of University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University.

Justice Stephen Adah reiterated that the order would subsist throughout the period of hearing and final determination of the suit challenging the propriety of renaming the university through a broadcast by President Goodluck Jonathan on May 29, 2012.

This came even as the court also ordered the consolidation of the two suits filed separately by the alumni association and some students of the university.

Adah restated the interim order following a request by the plaintiffs’ lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, for an extension of the validity of the order.

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Counsel for the respondents in the suit, in their separate responses to Olanipekun’s application, said the judge in his ruling on June 25, 2012, had made it clear that the injunction was to be alive until when the suit was finally dispensed off.

The respondents are the University of Lagos, the Senate of the university, its Governing Council, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN); and the National Assembly.

Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), represented UNILAG and its Senate, Mrs. Titilola Akinlawon (SAN), the university’s Senate; Mrs. H.E Obayagbon, the National Assembly; and Mr. J.J Usman, the Attorney-General of the Federation. They all consented to the continued validity of the order.

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The judge, in a short ruling said the order would “subsist throughout the hearing and final determination of the suit.”

Following an oral application by Olanipekun, the judge also ordered the consolidation of the two suits marked, FHC/IKJ/CS/130/2012 and FHC/IKJ/CS/131/2012.

All the respondents’ counsel agreed that since the two suits had the same facts, there was the need to consolidate them.

In his application for extension of the order, Olanipekun had said the status quo which the court said must be maintained in its June 25 ruling was the name which the university had been bearing for the past 50 years.

The National President of the Alumni Association of the university, Prof. Olayide Abass and the Secretary, Femi Olatunji, on behalf of the association, instituted the suit seeking nine reliefs as the ones sought by the students.

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The judge adjourned till September 21 and directied the parties to file all necessary court processes before then.

The plaintiffs, whose case is being prosecuted by at least 14 SANs, are asking the court to declare that President’s action is null and void.

Among other orders being sought by the plaintiffs is one restraining the university and its Council from complying with the President’s broadcast.

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