Why High Court Struck Out Suit Againt NSIA’s Managing Director

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Why High Court Struck Out Suit Againt NSIA's Managing Director

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday struck out a suit praying for an order suspending the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji, and an order for a forensic audit of the organisation’s accounts from inception.

The plaintiff, Johnmary Jideobi, was, by the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/628/2020, challenging the legality of the NSIA, which was created by the NSIA (establishment) Act 2011 during the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration, with the responsibility to receive, manage and invest some of the Federal Account funds to prepare for the eventual depletion of Nigeria’s oil reserve.

But Justice Ahmed Mohammed struck out the case on Monday, following an application by the plaintiff, Johnmary Jideobi, who is an Abuja-based lawyer, for the withdrawal of the suit.

The plaintiff had filed the suit on May 22, 2020, arguing that various provisions of the NSIA Act violated the provisions of sections 80 and 162 of the Nigerian Constitution which created the Federation Account/Consolidated Revenue Fund Account and provided that that all revenues accruing to the Federal Government must be paid into them and shared by the tiers of governments.

But on July 6, 2020, Jideobi filed an application for the withdrawal of the suit.

While he did not disclose the reason for the application for the withdrawal of the suit, he urged the court to strike it out.

However, at the July 7, 2020 proceedings, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), who is the counsel counsel for NSIA and its MD, sued as the 5th and the 6th defendants, respectively, urged the court to rather dismiss the suit instead of merely striking it out as the plaintiff requested.

Ruling on Monday, Justice Mohammed held that going by the rules of the court, the appropriate order to make was that of striking out and not of dismissal.

The court, however, ruled that the two defendants having been made to file their defence before the application for the withdrawal of the suit was filed, were entitled to N150,000 cost to be paid to them by the plaintiff.

He ruled that the plaintiff must pay the N150,000 cost to the two defendants before taking any future steps which might include refiling the suit on the same subject matter against the same set of defendants or their privies.

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