Disputed N13bn Debt: Court Fixes May 15 For Hearing Of Pending Applications Between Otudeko’s Firms, Ecobank

Further hearing of the suit in an alleged debt dispute between three companies, Anchorage Leisures Limited, Siloam Global Limited; Honeywell Nigeria Limited and Ecobank Nigeria Limited, before a Lagos Federal High Court has been fixed for May 15, 2024.

The presiding judge, Justice Yelim Bogoro, fixed the date for hearing all pending applications in the suit.

At the resumed hearing of the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/352/2023, on Wednesday, while Olabode Olanipekun (SAN) led a team for the Plaintiffs, Adekunle Ogunba (SAN) led the team for the defendant/counter-claimant (Ecobank), Elijah Akefe for the fourth defendant to the Counter-Claim (Honeywell Group Limited); Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu (SAN) led a team for the 5th defendant to the Counter-Claim (Flour Mill Nigeria Plc) and Professor Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) appeared for the 6th defendant to the Counter-Claim (Oba Otudeko).

During today’s proceedings, Bode Olanipekun (SAN) informed the court that they had filed a Notice of Appeal and Motion for stay of proceedings and that he believes the court should set down the said Motion for stay of proceedings for hearing.

But counsel to the defendant/counter-claimant, Mr. Ogunba (SAN) informed the court that he has not been served with the said Motion filed by the Plaintiff, and that the motion is not ripe for hearing,

Ogunba (SAN) further stated that the court should abide by its ruling of the last adjourned date, that all pending applications (including Ecobank’s application for summary judgment) would be taking today.

Professor Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) however informed the court that he is in receipt of the said motion and he is entitled to respond to same.

He therefore asked the court for a short date, to enable study the motion and to know either to support it or to against it.

After series of protracted arguments on whether the court should hear the motion for stay first or hear the defendant/counter-claimant’s application for summary judgment, the court delivered a bench ruling and hold that it would hear the application for stay alongside other applications (Including Ecobank’s application for judgment) but will first determine the Motion for stay.

Justice Bogoro thereafter, the matter was adjourned to May 15, 2024 for hearing of all applications in the suit.

The plaintiffs suit was sequel to the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court on January 27, 2023, which Ecobank alleged affirmed the indebtedness of Honeywell and connected firms to it, for N13 billion as of 2023.

But the plaintiffs instituted the instant suit at Federal High Court in Lagos, contending, among others, that the Supreme Court did not give a figure in its judgment.

At a prior hearing, the court, following an application by Ecobank’s lawyer, Ogunba, granted the bank leave to join Dr. Oba Otudeko, Flour Mills and Honeywell Group as defendants to its counter-claim seeking to recover the alleged debt.

The joined firms are or were either owned by or connected to Otudeko.