Court Orders Stay of Proceedings In Shareholders’ Suit Against FBN Holdings

Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday, ordered stay of proceeding in the suit filed by three aggrieved FBN Holdings Plc shareholders over the Annual General Meeting of the company held on August 15, 2023.

Justice Aluko had earlier directed  counsel in the matter to address him on whether the court can proceed with the case in view of the Appeal pending before the Court of Appeal and another application seeking a stay of proceedings.

Ruling on the written addresses filed by parties, Justice Aluko stated that in the instance case, what is pending  before the Appellate court was not just an application to stay proceedings, but that the substantive relief of the appeal is also asking for stay of proceedings. 

Justice Aluko held “The ruling of the court is now a subject before the court of appeal. It is settled by a long line of decisions of Supreme Court that the lower court should avoid judicial engagement in proceedings pending before it.

“It is my view that it is better to avoid any judicial engagement  in proceedings before this court that is capable of defying the judicial authority of the court of appeal, whose decision may impact on the proceeding before this court.

“Going by the tone of event and the level of controversy the matter has generated it’s better to give the senior brothers at the Court of Appeal opportunity to look into the case. The pending ruling of the court is kept in abeyance in scared obedience to judicial authorities of the Court of Appeal, I hereby ordered maintenance of status quo.

Solomon, Adebayo Oluwafemi Abayomi, and Ogundiran Emmanuel Adejare had urged the Federal High Court for an order stopping the bank’s Annual General Meeting scheduled for August 15 pending the hearing of their suit number FHC/L/CP/1575/23.

FBN Holdings Plc had in its Notice of  Appeal asked the court to nullify an ex-parte order granted by Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, which stopped the bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The Holding company, in a Notice of Appeal filed on its behalf by its team of lawyers led by Mutalubi Adebayo (SAN), is also asking the upper court for an order allowing its appeal and an order directing that a different Judge of the Federal High Court Lagos be assigned to hear the substantive matter.

The lawyer further argued that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the ex-parte order because the condition precedent under the Federal High Court Rules for the hearing of the suit was not met by the petitioners.

Three aggrieved FBN Holdings Plc shareholders, Olojede Adewole Solomon, Adebayo Oluwafemi Abayomi, and Ogundiran Emmanuel Adejare, had approached the court presided over by Justice Nicholas Oweibo seeking an order stopping the bank’s Annual General Meeting scheduled for August 15 pending the hearing of their suit number FHC/L/CP/1575/23.