Rainoil Limited, the lawful owner of the property including the Petrol Station located at Block 36 Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos, acquired the property which was formerly owned by ASCON Oil Company Limited from Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, in exercise of the Bank’s right of sale under a duly registered Deed of Legal Mortgage. STANBIC’s Right of Sale pursuant to the Deed of Legal Mortgage was legally and duly triggered, after ASCON failed to pay their debts to the bank, and upon crystallisation, STANBIC duly appointed a Receiver Mr Olawale Akoni, SAN over the said assets of ASCON by STANBIC.
The Receiver sought and obtained a subsisting Mandatory Order of the Federal High Court dated 15/5/20 in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/567/2020 Olawale Akoni SAN v ASCON Oil Company Limited, via which order, the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police, Zone 2 Police Command, was mandated by the Court to grant Police Protection to the Receiver in the execution of his powers as duly appointed by STANBIC with respect to the said Property.
Consequently, and upon payment of the consideration sum for the purchase of the Property, STANBIC assigned and outrightly transferred all its interests, and rights over the said property to Rainoil Limited, by virtue of which Rainoil became the lawful and rightful owners of the Property, including Petrol Station. As new owners of the Property, Rainoil were put in vacant and peaceable possession by the Receiver on 20/5/20.
ASCON, being dissatisfied with the actions of the Receiver with the take over and sale of the said property, filed a motion at the Federal High Court to challenge the acts of the Receiver and bank’s right to sell the said property to Rainoil, and to set aside the Mandatory Order of the Federal High Court.
On the 24/7/20, Justice Liman of the Federal High Court gave his ruling and validated the actions of the Receiver. He further posited that the prayer of ASCON to set aside, reverse, nullify and or suspend the steps taken pursuant to the actions and powers of the Receiver in the sale of the said property to Rainoil, can only be reversed or considered upon the institution of substantive suit. Suffice it to say that ASCON who are affiliated with Quest Oil, having failed in challenging the Ruling of the Federal High Court, have resorted to fraudulent and illegal means to deprive Rainoil of their legitimate proprietary rights, by making attempts to forcefully take over the property through fictitious and malicious means, notably on 4/8/20, 16/12/20 and more recently, on 13/8/21, when some unidentified Officers of ASCON and QUEST accompanied by 20 armed Mobile Policemen from the office of AIG, Zone 2, Onikan, in the company of hoodlums invaded the above mentioned property once again, under the guise of executing the same Ruling of the Federal High Court dated 24/7/20 per Liman J in the said case, which they have already appealed against. They unleashed acts of brigandage and malicious disruption of Rainoil’s business operations, including forcefully removing Staff dispensing petrol from the Forecourt, damaging property, the canopy, pylon signages, and illegally and forcefully seizing two Trucks loaded with 90,000 litres of petrol, belonging to Rainoil and parked within the premises.
Preceding the above, the office of the Commissioner of Police Lagos State and AIG of Police Zone 2 Onikan, had written to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on three occasions, requesting the court to confirm the order granted by Justice Liman in the said Suit No. FHC/L/CS/567/2020 – Olawale Akoni (SAN) v Ascon Oil Company Limited and permission to execute. The Deputy Chief Registrar in reply to their letters dated 4/8/21 and 9/8/21 respectively, replied to the request of the AIG, Zone 2, Onikan, and confirmed that the said Ruling of Justice Liman in the suit is valid and subsisting until it is set aside by the court; and that there are pending motions and a Notice of Appeal filed in respect of the aforementioned suit by ASCON; and the fact that the Court Order has been executed, further establishes the Sheriff’s office cannot enforce/ execute the said order twice.
Consequently, it came as a shock to learn that the Police disregarded all responses of the Deputy Chief Registrar /Admiralty Marshal Sub, and opted to act in contempt of the court. More appalling is that there is no substantive court order or legal justification for the actions of ASCON and Policemen from the office of the AIG, Zone 2, Onikan, including the forceful entry and unlawful repossession of Rainoil’s property.
The Federal High Court has since disassociated itself from this illegal act of brigandage and lawlessness, exhibited by the Police and Officers of ASCON and QUEST.