Legal Nigeria

Firm withdraws from bank’s suit against Odogwu family over Ikoyi property

By Bertram Nwannekanma

Sonny Iwedike Odogwu

A firm, Siet Trading Limited, has withdrawn from a fresh suit filed by Access Bank Plc, against Chief Sonny Odogwu’s family and others over an Ikoyi property.
The property, located at No 31-35, Ikoyi Crescent, was for development of Le Meridien Grand Towers Hotel, a foremost accommodation in Lagos.
The late billionaire had engaged the bank through its subsidiary, then Diamond Capital Ltd, as Lead Arranger for the syndication of finance for the project. Siet trading Limited, suing with Access Bank as the 2nd plaintiff, had sought to take over the property.
In their originating summons, Access Bank and the firm, urged a Federal High Court, Lagos to set aside a consent judgment delivered by Justice Aikawa in suit marked FHC/L/CS/156/2017 between Robert Dyson & Dike Limited & 2 Ors and Diamond Bank Plc on October 11, 2019 and enforce the judgment of Justice Saidu delivered in suit marked FHC/L/CS/1633/14 between parties.

In the fresh suit, the plaintiffs submitted that the judgment debtors have refused to hand over the Dubai property to the judgment creditors in line with the settlement agreement.

They also stated that the judgment debtor has refused to grant vacant possession to the properties at Kirikiri as well as the Dubai property till date in line with the consent judgment.

With the breach of the consent judgment, the judgment creditor has taken steps to realise the property it financed located at Ikoyi crescent in line with the original judgment.

The judgment creditors are determined to protect depositors’ funds and realize the fruits of its judgment by recovering the judgment sum of N26 billion.
But in a motion on notice filed on December 31, 2021, Odogwu family urged the court to dismiss or in the alternative strike out a suit filed by Access Bank Plc and Siet Trading Limited.

The notice of preliminary objection was brought on the grounds that the suit constitutes an abuse of court process, that the plaintiffs (Access Bank and Siete Trading Limited), lack the locus standi to institute the instant suit as well as that the action as presently constituted did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against the defendants.

Also, Chief Odogwu’s family stated that the court had become functus officio in respect of the judgment delivered in suit marked FHC/L/CS/156/2017 and lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the instant suit seeking to set aside the judgment of a court of coordinate jurisdiction.

They also contended that the entire action is frivolous, vexatious, malicious, and tantamount to abuse of the judicial process, that the action as presently constituted is an attempt to use the court to perfect fraud, as no leave of court was obtained before the filing of the suit seeking to set aside a consent judgment.
In the affidavit in support of the notice of preliminary objection, the Odogwu family through their counsel, contended that the action commenced through a wrong procedure, no leave of court was obtained before the filing of the suit seeking to set aside a consent judgment, and the subject matter of the suit, land is outside the jurisdiction of the court and there was no proper service of the originating processes on the defendants.

But in a motion of notice filed by its counsel on January 11, 2022 at Federal High Court, Lagos, Siet Trading Limited, the 2nd plaintiff in the suit, is seeking to withdraw from the suit.

In the notice for withdrawal brought pursuant to order 50, Rule 2 of Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court, the firm stated that it has withdrawn from all its claims as it relate to the originating summons of December 20, 2021 against the defendants in the suit.