FG’s Handover of National Theatre: Court Strikes out Application seeking Reversal


Justice Ayokunle Faji has struck out the application seeking to reverse the take over of the national theatre to the Central Bank of Nigeria, access bank and its MD, Herbert Wigwe.

The exparte application was brought by Topwideapeas Limited, through its lawyer, Chijioke Okoli (SAN) who had argued that the July 12 purported takeover was done during the pending suit, marked FHC/L/CS/2392/2019.

The firm is challenging the nullification of its concession over the National Theatre complex in Iganmu.

The plaintiff said it voted $3.5billion for the project development before the contract was allegedly breached by the federal government.

The National Theatre and the National Troupe of Nigeria Board, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation; Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Central Bank of Nigeria, Access Bank of Nigeria Plc and its Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe are the defendants.

Following the order of court for the defendants to defend the process of the takeover, their counsel – Nelson Orji, for the 1st-4th defendants, Professor Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) for the 5th defendant and A.A. Adegbonmire for the 6th and 7th defendants, responded in their counter-affidavit urging the court to dismiss the motion.

Mr Orji argued that the plaintiff is unknown to the FG, and that the defendants undertake to pay damages if the suit ends up in their favour, unlike the federal government which cannot be compensated. He added that the said concession which the plaintiff is relying on was not binding as it was only a draft agreement which was eventually revoked. He said injunction cannot be granted as a remedy for an action that has been completed, and urged the court not to grant the plaintiff’s prayers.

Mr Adegbonmire questioned the relevance of the ‘fallow land’ referred to in the motion, as it was not definitive and had nothing to link his clients to. He also asked that the application be dismissed with substantial cost, for being ‘deliberately brought’ by ex parte.

Professor Ajogwu added that calling the national theatre a fallow ground was a fallacy, and that the reliefs sought are vague and specified, having no beacon or survey plan. He added that anything relating land must be written, and that a draft contract can’t be executed. He asked for 10million naira costs against the plaintiff.

But Mr Okolie in replying to the assertions said they are delving into the main suit which is wrong.


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