Court strikes out lawsuit against Veritas Registrars over issue of jurisdiction
Justice Lateefa Okunnu of Lagos High Court has struck out a lawsuit against Veritas Registrars Limited for want of jurisdiction.
The suit, No LD/569CM/2021, was between Pastor Anthony Afuye-Cyrus v. Veritas Registrars Limited. Afuye-Cyrus had claimed some employment related reliefs on the basis that he had been the subject of harassment, coercion, intimidation, victimisation and torture for allegedly reporting fraud, which purportedly led to his resignation from Veritas Registrars Limited.
Afuye-Cyrus, through the pleadings filed by his counsel, Nkem Ogonsiegbe Esq. of NkemOgonsiegbe & Co., further claimed a cumulative sum of N400, 000, 000 (Four Hundred Million Naira) in damages from Veritas Registrars Limited.
Veritas Registrars Limited, through its counsel, Kenna Partners, led by Professor Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), in response to the suit, filed its defence claiming that Afuye-Cyrus was not the subject of any harassment, coercion, intimidation, victimisation or torture, and that he voluntarily resigned from his employment with the company.
Veritas Registrars Limited further maintained that contrary to the allegation by Afuye-Cyrus, its (Veritas Registrars Limited) internal investigation did not reveal any fraudulent activity by some of its staff.
Veritas Registrars Limited, through its counsel, also challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter on the grounds that the matter was not within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Lagos State and that it was the National Industrial Court that had the jurisdiction to hear and determine matters such as this arising from employer-employee relationships.
On December 10, 2021, Moruf Sowunmi, Esq of Kenna Partners, in arguing Veritas Registrars Limited’s challenge to the jurisdiction of the court, urged the court to hold that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter and that it was the National Industrial Court that had the jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.
Counsel to Afuye-Cyrus, Nkem Ogonsiegbe of Nkem Ogonsiegbe & Co. argued that the Lagos State High Court had jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Justice Okunnu agreed with the submissions of Counsel to Veritas Registrars Limited, saying that the High Court of Lagos State lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter and accordingly struck the suit out for want of jurisdiction.