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Firm writes NJC over alleged bias by judicial officer

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Justice Ibrahim Auta

Justice Ibrahim Auta

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has received a petition against a judicial officer of the Federal High Court, Lagos division, over allegation of bias in a suit No. FHC/L/CS/146/16 between Aero Contractors Nigeria Limited, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and a Senior Advocate.

The petition, dated July 21, 2016 was received by the NJC, on July 27, 2016 and titled: “Complaint of Bias, Insubordination, Judicial Rascality and Deliberate Bid to Incite Members of the Public Against a Litigant Contrary to the Oath of.”

According to the petition, which was also received by the Chief Judge, Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta and signed by the Chairperson, Board of Directors, Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria limited, Eniye Ambakederemo, a mortgage agreement between Aero Contractors and a defunct bank suffered default which formed part of the debt inherited by Asset management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) from the bank upon its liquidation.

Attempts by AMCON to recover the debt led to an institution of a suit No: FHC/C/CS/07/2014 in AMCON vs. Aero and presided over by the judge. Later on, the matter was resolved amicably and the terms of settlement was entered as the judgment of the court on February 17, 2015 and pronounced upon by the judge.

By that judgment, AMCON acquired 60 per cent of the shares of Aero, while the remaining 40 per cent shares were left for the legacy shareholders, which comprise the original owners. The period for the pay back of the judgment sum was fixed at 10 years commencing from February 17, 2015 date of the said judgment wherein Aero started servicing the judgment sum even though AMCON continued to shortchanged Aero.

One year after, whilst compliance to the judgment of Justice Idris of February 17, 2015 was going on, surprisingly on February 4, 2016 an order of interim injunction was again granted to AMCON by the same judge through another case brought up by AMCON and another lawyer against the Chairperson and three other directors of the firm in suit No: FHC/L/Cs/146/2016 wherein AMCON alleged to have put Aero on receivership.

The ex-parte interim injunction granted in favour of AMCON went beyond 60 days without a renewal, thus when Aero counsel sought a discharge of the order before the judge on May 17, 2016, the judge denied the firm the opportunity of the enlargement of time to set aside the exparte interim injunction which contravened order 26 rules 11 and 12 of the rules of the Federal High Court.


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