Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of the Federal High Court, Lagos has warned lawyers from filing frivolous motions for purposes of stalling pending cases.
The judge warned lawyers while ruling on preliminary objection seeking discontinuation of a 14-year-old suit in which a lawyer, Debo Adeleke filed on behalf of 13,741 investors over their N22.4 billion investment kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Justice Lewis-Allagoa, while dismissing the preliminary objection, cautioned that his court would not indulge in any act of delaying dispensation of justice.
He observed that lawyers of some parties in the case had developed an interest in filing “silly and frivolous applications” for the purpose of stalling the aged-long case of trapped investors’ funds instead of serving the interest of justice and seeing that the case is heard and determined on merit.
The judge cautioned that his court would not indulge in such an act, warning that he is interested in the quick dispensation of justice to let all parties know their fates.
Justice Allagoa observed that from the records of proceedings, it is unfortunate that the same emotions that were earlier raised in the high court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, heard and determined were brought back to the high court again for determination, thus, prolonging the real matter from being heard.
“I think lawyers should work to the satisfaction of the interest of justice. The investors’ money is crying for collection and you busy yourselves filing silly applications, wearing wigs and gowns, riding inexpensive cars, while the investors of the trapped funds are suffering and dying,” the judge remarked.
The judge had earlier dismissed the preliminary application brought before it by the 3rd respondent in the suit, Nospetco Oil and Gas Limited from the chambers of Ricky Tafa (SAN), which had prayed for discontinuation of the suit, holding that it had no reason for bringing such motion and awarded the cost of N100, 000 against the 3rd defendant.
Justice Allagoa however granted an application seeking to strike out names of Rowland Badejo, and three other investors, led by Chief Roland Otaru (SAN), who had earlier filed an application for discontinuance of the suit, holding that although they have the right of the choice of their legal representatives, they could not foist such right on other investors.
He therefore fixed March 30,2022 hearing.
The SEC had confiscated investors’ money from Nospetco Oil and Gas Ltd and kept same for and on behalf of the investors with the CBN.
But the Supreme Court in its judgment held that the money kept with the CBN belongs to the investors and that the investors should collect their funds from the CBN by taking their grievances to the appropriate court.