Suit Against Ex-FAAN Concessionaire Dismissed, Received N3.15m Cost In Its Favour
Justice Yellim Bogoro of a Lagos Federal High Court, has struck out a suit filed against a company, Integrated Intelligent Imaging West Africa Limited, (iCUBE), a former concessionaire of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) its two directors and four banks for lack of diligent prosecution.
The court also awarded a total punitive cost of N3.15 million against all the seven applicants in the suit.
The two directors of the company include a former All Progressives Congress gubernatorial aspirant in Ondo State, Moyosola Niran Oladunni and Kehinde Akingbola.
The banks are: Fidelity Bank Plc; United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc; Polaris Bank Limited and Zenith Bank Plc.
Justice Bogoro struck out the suit, sequel to an application orally moved for such by Professor Joseph Oromafunu Abugu (SAN), counsel to the defendants, who informed the court that neither the applicants nor their counsels has appeared in court since the suit was filed early last year.
The plaintiffs in the suit, marked FHC/L/CS/817/2021, include: Folusho Adeagbo; Bola Cole; Oluwole Tella; Jide Alufa; Wale Akomolafe; Toluwaleke Abajingin and Rotimi Aladesanmi.
The plaintiffs through their counsel, Declean Kemdirim, in a motion on Notice filed before the court had asked for a declaration that the Annual General Meeting of the first defendant, Integrated intelligent Imaging West Africa Limited, held on April 27, 2021, was not properly and duly convened and that by virtue of the inconclusive status of the said first AGM of the company, the said Meeting cannot be relied upon as establishing the retirement of all Directors of the Company in accordance with Section 28 (1) of the Companies And Allied Matters Act, 2070, (The Act”) where the statutory re-election of any Director could not be held due to the disruption of the Meeting.
The plaintiffs also asked for a declaration that if however, it is established that all Directors of the company validly retired at the said AGM, then, Moyosola Niran Oladumni (second defendant) cannot validly remain a Director of the company.
And also that the status of first defendant in the records of the Corporate Affairs Commission to the effect that the only Director of the company, is the second defendant, is illegal, unlawful, null and void in the circumstances, particularly in view of the provisions of Article 24 of the Articles of Association of the Campany and Section 271 (1) of the Act.
They also asked for a declaration that the purported Board Resolution of the company dated June 15, 2021, jontly signed by the second and third defendants, changing the company’s Bank mandate with the fourth to seventh defendants is null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
They added that the fourth to seventh defendants are under no obligation whatsoever to honour the purported Board resolution dated June 15, 7021 jointly signed by the second and third defendants, and that the said resolution is null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
At the resumed hearing of the applicants’ suit today, neither the applicants nor their counsel, Declean Kemdirim, was in court.
However, a counsel, O. N. Nwizu, informed the court that he was holding the brief of the applicants’ counsel.
Nwizu told the court that the applicants’ counsel is withdrawing from representing the applicants in the suit. He consequently urged the court to grant the application.
Despite the objection raised by the defendants’ counsel, the presiding judge, Justice Bogoro, while citing plethoras of authorites, granted the counsel’s withdrawal application.
Following the granting of the withdrawal appllication, counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to strike out the plaintiffs’suit, for lack of diligent prosecution, while also asking for a punitive cost against all the applicants.
In asking the court for the order, Professor Abugu (SAN) noted, “This matter was filed on July 1, 2021 and this is the fifth adjournment. The plaintiffs have never appeared in court and their counsel was never in court till today.
“The withdrawal application just taken and granted, verified that the counsel has returned the case file since September 2021. It also shows that all the hearing notices issued by this court have been forwarded to the plaintiffs and this includes our letter dated December 8, 2021, informing the counsel of this day and precedence proceedings of this court, which the counsel acknowledged.
“It is therefore clear that the plaintiffs are not interested in this matter. I therefore urged the court to strike out or dismiss this suit for wants of diligent prosecution with punitive cost.”
Justice Bogoro in her ruling held that she is in total agreement with the submissions of the senior counsel, as the plaintiffs never come to court to prosecute their case.
The judge consequently, struck out the suit for lack of diligent prosecution and awarded punitive cost of N200,000, against each of the Plaintiffs in favour of the first and second defendants.
Earlier, the court had awarded a total cost of N250,000, against each of the plaintiffs in favour of the first and second defendants.