Lawyer asks Judge to recuse from N13b debt case
A lawyer, Mr. Temilolu Adamolekun, has asked Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the Federal High Court, Lagos, to recuse himself from the N13 billion debt suit, due to the plaintiff’s loss of faith in him.
Following the resumption of the hearing on Wednesday, Adamolekun prayed that the case file is returned to the administrative judge for re-assignment to another judge.
The suit marked FHC/L/CS/2147/19 was filed by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) PLC and Gbenga Akinde-Peters, Receiver/Manager of Stallion Nigeria Limited (in receivership).
Five other firms – THP Limited, The Honda Place Limited, Connoisseur Investment Limited, Premium Seafoods Limited and Onward Fisheries Nigeria Limited – are the respondents.
GTB, through Adamolekun, instituted the suit against THP and four others in 2019 over the alleged N13 billion owed by Stallion Nigeria.
The prayers, as contained in his motion on notice, are: “An order that Justice Awogboro does disqualify himself from further adjudicating over this matter, the applicant having lost confidence in the impartiality of His Lordship to determine the case.
“A consequential order that the case file relating to this matter be returned to the Administrative Judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, for reassignment to another judge of the court for continuation of the matter.”
The grounds upon which the application was brought are that, on July 20, 2022, the matter came up for a hearing of pending applications.
“Counsel to the plaintiffs informed the court of the pendency of an application for stay of proceedings filed by the plaintiffs and the need for the said application to be heard before any other application filed by any other party in the matter, and that the decision of the lower court on all processes filed before the court would eventually abide the decision of the Court of Appeal.
“The court attempted to take the defendant’s application dated June 29, 2022, but counsel to the plaintiffs pointed out to the court that it would amount to refusing the application for stay of proceedings even without hearing same,” they prayed.
Counsel to the defendants then urged the court to make an interim order suspending payment without determining their application of June 29, 2022, an oral application, which was in the nature of the same application dated June 29, 2022.
They stated: “In reaction, counsel to the plaintiffs said the court, being that of record, had no jurisdiction to grant such prayer without a formal application, where the plaintiffs already joined issues on the defendants’ application and in view of the application for stay of proceedings.
“His Lordship then advised the defendants to file an ex parte application, even when parties have joined issues before the court. His Lordship also told the defendants in open court to file the application before Friday, July 22, 2022, so that he could hear them on the application before vacation; without the presence or representation of the plaintiffs.
“The plaintiffs have lost confidence in the court and are of the belief that they cannot get justice before Justice Awogboro, if His Lordship could openly tell the defendants to file an ex parte application in a matter where parties are already before the court and have joined issues.”