Disputed debt: Court adjourns hearing in Honeywell/Ecobank suit Oct 21

Justice Yelim Bogoro of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has adjourned hearing in all applications in the suit between Anchorage Leisures Limited, it’s two sisters companies and Ecobank Nigeria Limited, over a disputed debt.

Anchorage Leisure Limited’s its sister companies in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/352/2023, are Anchorage, Siloam Global Limited and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc are plaintiffs/respondents, while Ecobank is the defendant/counterclaimant.

Anchorage and it’s sisters firms, are owned or linked to the Nigeria business mogul, Oba Otudeko (who is also sued in the matter as a defendant to the counter-claim filed by Ecobank).

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, Mr. Bode Olanipekun, SAN, led a team on behalf of the first to third plaintiffs/ defendants to counter claim, while Mr. Adekunle Ogunba, SAN, and others announced his appearance for the first defendant/counter claimant (Ecobank Nigeria Limited) and the trio of Ade Adedeji, SAN, Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN, and Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, SAN, announced their appearances for fourth, fifth and sixth defendants to the counter- claim, respectively.

Honeywell Flour Mills Plc


The fourth to sixth defendants to counter-claim are: Dr. Oba Otudeko, Flour Mills and Honeywell Group Limited, who joined in the suit after the court granted leave to Ecobank’s counsel, Ogunba,  who applied that they be joined in the debt recovery suit.

At the day’s proceedings, Bode Olanipekun, SAN, informed the court that they had prior to the day transmitted the record of appeal and also filed their brief of argument challenging the decision of the court.

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He further informed the court of their Affidavit for the Record evidencing an appeal has been entered as per the exhibits attached to the Affidavit. On the above premise, he applied that the matter should be adjourned sine die.

Responding to Olanipekun’s submissions, Ogunba drew the court’s attention to the proceedings of April 17, 2024, wherein the court held that it would hear all pending applications, including the plaintiff’s application for Stay of proceedings.

Ogunba also noted that the oral application by the plaintiff’s counsel runs contrary the the pronouncement of the court on the last adjourned date.

He also stated that the oral application by the plaintiffs’ counsel on the premise of his Affidavit for the Record is an attempt to argue their application for stay of proceedings through the back door, in a bid to achieve the intended relief and to also undermine and frustrate the court’s proceedings today.

While adding that the affidavit for the record was only served on us this morning and that all the exhibits attached therein were never served on us.

Ogunba, therefore, urged the court to refuse the oral application of the plaintiffs’ counsel, as the business of the day, was to hear all pending applications and not to suffocate the day’s proceedings by a mid-stream application.

In his submission, Adedeji, lawyer to the fourth defendant, argued that at the point an appeal has been entered, the court should naturally abate further proceedings, as the court will not want to find itself in a situation where it would be competing with the court of appeal.

He therefore urged the court to adjourn the matter indefinitely and as to the fact that the affidavit for the record was filed late should be an issue as to cost, which will not affect the merit of the application.

In her Abimbola Akeredolu, counsel to the fifth defendant, stated that she won’t be opposing the application of Counsel to the plaintiffs, adding that her position is premised on Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, which essentially makes the Court of Appeal become seized of the Jurisdiction once an appeal has been entered.

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She therefore urged the court to grant the application to adjourn sine die.

Professor Osipitan,  the sixth defendant’s counsel, while aligning himself with the submissions of counsel to the fourth and fifth defendants to counter-claim, noted that exhibits 1 and 2 attached to the affidavit for the Record shows that the appeal has been entered and as rightly submitted by counsel to the fifth defendant to counter claim, adding that all applications, including the application to stay proceedings are not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the court of appeal.

The Professor also drew the attention of the court to an exhibit attached to the Affidavit, which indicates that a fresh Motion for stay of proceedings dated May 13, 2024, has been filed at the Court of Appeal, which only implies that the earlier application for stay of proceedings pending before the court has become spent in view of the application before the Court of Appeal.

He also urged the court to adjourn the suit indefinitely.

After listening to further submissions of counsel, Justice Bogoro, held that it would adjourn the matter to enable the first defendant/counter-claimant respond to the affidavit for the record filed by the Plaintiffs.

The judge, subsequently adjourned the matter to October 21, 2024, for hearing.

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