Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday, August 10, set aside an interim order of contempt made against Lekki Gardens Limited and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director, Richard Nyong, over the construction of the company’s Projects in Osborne Foreshore Phase 2 Estate Ikoyi, Lagos State.
The Judge also struck out the suit filed by the Registered Trustees of Osborne Foreshore Phase 2 Estate Ikoyi and Osborne Foreshore Residents’ Association, for being an abuse of court processes and also for lack of jurisdiction to hear the suit.
The Residents’ Association through its counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) had dragged Lekki Gardens Limited, its Managing Director and Foreshore Waters Limited, before the court for allegedly disobeying an interim order of the Court, made on July 9, restraining Lekki Gardens Estate Limited and Foreshore Waters Limited from carrying out any further construction, development or building activities in Osborne Foreshore Estate II, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Joined as a respondent in the Suit FHC/L/CS/755/2021, alongside Lekki Gardens Limited and others, was National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
In response to the suit, Lekki Gardens Limited filed its defence which was robustly argued by their Counsel, Tola Oshobi (SAN).
Oshobi urged the court to dismiss the Residents’Association’s motion on notice and the Exparte order issued against his clients, for being an abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction.
The lawyer had also informed the court that the plaintiff concealed material facts to the effect the subject matter of the suit was already before the High Court of Lagos which had issued an Order which was still valid and subsisting
Delivering ruling after hearing Counsels to the Parties, Justice Oweibo granted Lekki Gardens Limited and its Managing Director, Richard Nyong’s application to set aside the July 9 interim order made against them, by dismissing preliminary objection filed by the Trustees of Osborne Residents’ Association.
In striking out the Residents’ Association’s suit, Justice Oweibo agreed with the Lekki Gardens Limited and others that the Plaintiff concealed material facts, saying that ‘though, apart from the first defendant, NESREA, other parties and facts in the suit before this court are same as the suit before Lagos High Court.
Consequently, Justice Oweibo while citing a plethora of authorities held that:
“looking at the processes before this court, it is only the first defendant (NESREA) that is not a Party in the suit before Lagos State High Court”.
“Looking at the subject matter of this case and the fact that there is no difference between the suit before this court and the one before a Lagos High Court, apart from the addition of the first defendant, this suit is an abuse of court process”
“The suit is accordingly struck out and cost of N50, 000, is hereby awarded against the Plaintiff”.