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Court dismisses suit against ex-FAAN concessionaire

By Joseph Onyekwere
15 February 2022   |   3:50 am
A Federal High Court, Lagos has struck out a suit filed against a company, Integrated Intelligent Imaging West Africa Limited, a former concessionaire of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)...

A Federal High Court, Lagos has struck out a suit filed against a company, Integrated Intelligent Imaging West Africa Limited, a former concessionaire of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), its two directors and four banks for lack of diligent prosecution.

The trial judge, Yellim Bogoro also awarded a total punitive cost of N3.15 million against all the seven plaintiffs 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. 

Justice Bogoro struck out the suit, following an application orally moved for such by Prof. Joseph Abugu (SAN), counsel to the defendants, who informed the court that neither the plaintiffs 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, are 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 had asked for a declaration that the yearly general meeting of the first defendant, Integrated intelligent Imaging West Africa Limited held on April 27, 2021, was not properly and duly convened.

They also argued that by virtue of the inconclusive status of the said first general meeting, 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 (CAMA) 2020, 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 it is established that all directors of the company validly retired at the said yearly meeting, then 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 (CAC) to the effect that the only director of the company is the second defendant, is illegal, unlawful, null and void, particularly in view of the provisions of Article 24 of the Articles of Association of the Company and Section 271 (1) of CAMA. 

They also asked for a declaration that the purported board resolution dated June 15, 2021, jointly signed by the second and third defendants, changing the company’s bank mandate with the fourth to seventh defendants (banks) 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 for being null and void and of no effect.

At the resumed hearing of the applicants’ suit today, neither the applicants nor their counsel, 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 plaintiffs’ counsel is withdrawing from representing them in the suit.

He consequently urged the court to grant the application.

Despite the objection raised by the defendants’ counsel, the trial judge, granted the withdrawal application.

Following the development, counsel for the defendants pleaded with the court to strike out the plaintiffs’ suit for lack of diligent prosecution and also prayed for a punitive cost against all the plaintiffs.

In asking the court for the order, Prof Abugu (SAN) said: “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 agreed with the submissions of the senior counsel, struck out the matter and awarded cost against the plaintiffs.