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Eko hospital: Court tells disputants to maintain status quo

By Joseph Onyekwere
07 November 2021   |   3:04 am
Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has warned parties fighting for the management of Eko Hospital, Lagos to maintain the status quo ante bellum.

Eko hospital

Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has warned parties fighting for the management of Eko Hospital, Lagos to maintain the status quo ante bellum.

He made the order, following an application by plaintiffs’ counsel, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN).

Plaintiffs in the matter are: Dr. Sunday Kuku, Uzochukwu Eneli, Ufo Atuanya, Ikechukwu Eneli, Ify Eneli, Nwamaka Ezekwugo (for themselves, as beneficiaries of the estate of the late Dr. Alexander Chukwuma Eneli.)

The respondents are EKOCORP Plc., Geoff Ohen Ltd., Prof J. O. Irukwu (SAN), ßDr. Augustine Amaechi Obiora, Greenwich Registrars and Data Solutions Ltd., Securities and Exchange Commission and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction, pending the hearing and determination of the suit, restraining the sixth and seventh defendants/ respondents, from giving effect to the resolution approving the sale by private placement of 110,000,000 units of shares to the second respondent or any resolution(s) passed at the first defendant/ respondent’s purported extraordinary meeting, held on June 3, 2021.

They are also seeking to, among others, restrain the sixth and seventh defendants/ respondents from registering any portion of the 110,000,000 units of shares purportedly approved by the resolution passed at the first respondent’s purported extra-ordinary general meeting of June 3, 2021, in the name of the second respondent or altering the register of shares of the 1st defendant or issuing Shares Certificates to the second respondent in that regard.

At the resumption of hearing on Friday, Pinheiro informed the court that the second, sixth and seventh defendants were not represented in court, despite hearing notices being served on them, and that an affidavit of service was before the court to this effect.

He said in view of that and the fact that the first, third and fourth defendants’ counsel was not ready to proceed, the court ought to adjourn till a date convenient for parties.

“My lord, we are in your hands. The defendants did not respect the pendency of this case in court.

“At the last adjourned date in July, the defendants gave an undertaking that nothing would be done until the determination of our motion, but sir, they are not complying with it.

“On August 26, the defendants called a meeting and made some decisions.

“My application this morning is for my lord to order status quo. There should be discipline in our profession,” Pinheiro said.

But the first, third and fourth defendants’ counsel, B.C Akunya, who was not robed but was indulged by the judge, told the court that there had been no meeting and that the only meeting that was held was to inform the directors of the company of the demise of one of the founding partners (the fourth defendant).

He also told the court that there was no relief restraining the first defendant, a public limited liability company, from holding their statutory AGM.

But, Pinheiro stated that there were both declaratory and injunctive reliefs relating to the chairmanship of the general meetings and that the statements made by the first, third and fourth defendants’ counsel that the meeting held on August 22, 2021 was only to notify the company of the demise of a founding partner was false, adding that the notice of meeting itself was in breach of the status quo order.

According to him, the notice of meeting stated that the acting Chairman of the board, Prof. Irukwu (SAN) had requested an emergency meeting of the board for discussions.

In a Bench ruling, the court ordered and redirected that parties continue to maintain status quo, pending the determination of the suit and adjourned till November 12, 2021, for hearing.