A Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja has adjourned the case involving Atta family, a royal family in the state, and two mining Companies Dangote Industries Limited, Dangote Cement Plc and Federal Ministry of mine and Steel Development as defendants till 27th June 2023.
The plaintiffs, Prince Mahmud Sani Atta, Abdulmaliki Atta, Mohammed Sadiq Atta and Mohammed Shaibu Onochu Atta have dragged the defendants to Federal High Court in 2017 over alleged granting of mining lease 2541 ML with No 00001103 dated 1st February, 2008 to the 1st defendant by the second defendant and 3rd defendant without compliance with provision of Nigeria Mineral and Mining Act 2007.
The defendants in the Suit No FHC /LKJ/C5/25/17 are AICO, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the Mining Cadastre office, Dangote Industries Limited and Dangote Cement Plc.
When the case came for mentioning on Thursday, the plaintiff’s legal counsel, Mathew Onoja Esq had moved oral application for motion for hearing.
The counsel for the 1st, 4th and 5th defendants, Imen Edem-Nse objected to the the plaintiff’s legal counsel, arguing that Mathew Onoja can not move such a motion because other legal teams in the case have not been properly served the motion for the change counsel to the plaintiff.
He drew the attention of the trial Judge, Justice S.B. Onuh to High Order 9 rule 35 in case there is need for a change in legal counsel, such motion must be properly served therefore vowed that it must be done according to rule.
Responding, Onoja told the court that “contrary to the objection, we have complied with rule by filing application for the change of counsel and had been duly served the court and defendants.”
He explained further that the plaintiffs had told him that the application was filed on 11th October 2022 and the registry should bail them out.
But when the Judge asked for application from the registrar , it could not be found in the court records.
Plaintiff’s counsel therefore told the court he would do the needful by serving them fresh application so as to allow the hearing of the substantive suit before the court.
In his ruling, Justice S.B. Onuh granted the oral application by the plaintiff’s counsel to properly serve the defendants and Court the notice for change of legal counsel.
Justice Onuh therefore adjourned the case for hearing till June 27th, 2023.