Supreme court adjourns for nine months in wonder bank case
The six years old case of over N22.45 billion investors of Nospetco (wonder bank) fund scheme trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has suffered another nine months adjournment, as the Supreme Court fixed all pending applications till March 25, 2019.
The adjournment by the five-man panel in the apex court presided over by Justice Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili was sequel to absence of Mr. Rowland Otaru (SAN), counsel to four of the investors.
Other members of the panel who concurred are Justices Ejembi Eko, Kudirat M.O. Kekere-Ekun, Chima Nwaeze, and Mustapha Dattijo Muhammad.
At the resumed proceedings on the matter, the presiding Justice asked if any investor Otaru is representing was in court and whether he could explain the absence of their lawyer in court.
One of the investors, Roland Badejo rose to announce his name, saying his counsel, Otaru, was “indisposed”, and upon further probing by the court as to what he wanted the court to do, Badejo said: “whatever the court does we will abide by it, may be to give us an adjournment.”
Appearing for the Appellant, Nospetco Oil And Gas Ltd, M. Bamidele from Ricky Tarfa’s chambers informed the court that Mr. Debo Adeleke’s application of cross appeal could be heard without Otaru’s presence in court, adding that the application is harmless and appellant was not opposing.
In his submission, Adeleke, who appeared for 10 investors in a representative capacity of over 13,747 other investors, pointed out that as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Otaru could have sent any lawyer from his chambers either in Abuja or Lagos since he knew he would not appear in court.
He said: “My lords, even myself I am ill, notwithstanding I still manage to come.
Assuming without conceding, he is genuinely ill, he ought to have sent, at least one lawyer from his chambers to represent his clients, having been given notice of hearing.”
The apex court interjected and told Adeleke to be patient, saying it would be unfair to proceed when Otaru was absent in court and therefore adjourned further hearing till March 25, 2019.