Despite a subsisting order to reinstate Mr. Emmanuel Osita Okoli, placed on the International Real Estate Federation, FIABCI-Nigeria Chapter by a High Court in Nigeria, the professional body has continued to disobey the court order.
The order being disobeyed by FIABCI-Nigeria Chapter is the one made by the High Court in Ikeja directing the realtor body to reverse its expulsion of Mr. Emmanuel Osita Okol from its fold without granting him an opportunity to be heard, a decision which was against the spirit of fairness.
In a judgment delivered on May 3, 2016 by Justice S.A. Onigbanjo, Mr. Okoli, who had served variously as Secretary General of the Nigerian Chapter of FIABCI as well as the African Region, Vice President of the African Region and President of the African Region, got a judgement in his favour where FIABCI-Nigeria Chapter was ordered to reverse its decision taken at its General Meeting of April 6, 2011 to expel or set aside his membership from the International Real Estate Federation, FIABCI-Nigeria Chapter.
In the judgment, Justice S.A. Onigbanjo, ordered FIABCI-Nigeria Chapter to immediately reinstate Osita Okoli. However, Vanguard Homes & Property can reliably report that about three years after the judgment was delivered, FIABCI-Nigeria Chapter is yet to comply with the court’s order.
According to a certified true copy of the judgement obtained by our correspondent, the Claimant raised the following questions in May 13, 2011, for determination by the court: “Whether by section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, and Article 7, of the Statutes of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), the Defendants in their General Meeting of April 6, 2011, can expel or set aside the membership of the Claimant from FIABCI Nigeria chapter without granting the Claimant, a financial member and President, African Region of the Association, an opportunity to be heard.
“Whether the expulsion or the setting aside of the Claimant’s membership from the International Real Estate Federation, Nigeria chapter, by Defendants in their General Meeting of April 6, 2011, on account of the Claimant’s expulsion from the Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), is lawful when the Claimant has the knowledge of the Defendants, instituted a legal action against NIESV and thereby rendering the issue of his expulsion subjudice.”
Onigbanjo, therefore declared in his ruling that, “Consequently, the questions raised for the court’s determination by the Claimant in this suit are resolved in favour of the Claimant and I make the following orders that the expulsion or setting aside of the Claimant’s membership from FIABCI Nigeria chapter by the Defendants at their General Meeting of April 6, 2011, without granting the Claimant the opportunity to be heard and defend himself is contrary to the equitable doctrine of ‘Audi alterem Partem’ and therefore null and void.
“That the expulsion or setting aside of the Claimant’s membership from FIABCI Nigeria chapter by the Defendants at their General Meeting of April 6, 2011, on account of the Claimant’s expulsion from NIESV, notwithstanding the pendency of a legal action against NIESV on the said expulsion, is hereby declared null and void.”
However, in a telephone conversation with the president of FIABCI-Nigeria, Mr. Adeniji Adele, on why the body has refused to reinstate the Plaintiff into its fold despite the court’s ruling, Adele said FIABCI has no case with Mr. Okoli.
He also said that he is not aware of any court judgement ordering FIABCI to reinstate Mr. Okoli as a member. According to Adele, Okoli has issues with NIESV, and they are in court, pointing out that what FIABCI is telling Okoli is that he should resolve his problem with NIESV and come back to FIABCI.
Okoli, who expressed displeasure over the delay of FIABCI-Nigeria Chapter to reinstate him as instructed by the court ruling, sees the alleged disobedience as injustice to his person and, therefore, seeks his unconditional reinstatement by FIABCI as directed by the court.
A member of FIABCI-Nigeria Chapter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said since the realtor body had failed to take advantage of the appeal window, that they were duty-bound to execute all the elements of the judgement delivered on May 3, 2016.
“The impunity of disobedience to court order is almost becoming a norm and a culture in this clime. The process of obeying all the judgements should not be stretched beyond its reasonable limits. We are only taking out time to postpone the evil day and making mockery of ourselves as professional realtors,” he added.