Controversy brewed last week at a Federal Capital Territory, Abuja High Court, Nyanya Judicial Division, when Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris refuted an interlocutory order purportedly claimed by some persons against Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON).They claimed he had granted the order restraining it from registering new architects pending the determination of a matter before it.The Judge, in the open court, said he never granted such order and expressed surprise where the purported order emanated from.
This happened at the resumed hearing of a suit filed by Ibrahim Kabir, Ayodeji Kolawole, Andy Imafidon, Dike Emmanuel, Opiribo West, Abimbola Ajayi and Emmanuel Ekeruche. Others are Nicholas Musa, who sued for himself and other interested registered architects. Also, the list of plaintiffs include Ademakinwa Olajumoke, Babjide Awonubi, Siyanbola Kukola and Emmanuel Adewunmi, who also sued for himself and other aggrieved person that sat and passed the qualifying examinations conducted by the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA).
They sued ARCON, NIA, ARCON president, Sir Dipo Ajayi and NIA president, Njoku Adibe. Going by the order of the court, served on ARCON, Justice Idris had issued the order following an ex parte application moved by the plaintiffs’ lawyer.Addressing the court last week, ARCON’s lawyer, Nnabuike Edechime, had said that, it appeared the plaintiffs misled the court in granting such order.
According to the lawyer, the said order was an attempt to hinder the ARCON from discharging its statutory functions, which include raising standards of architecture, registration of architects among others. Responding, the Judge said: ‘’I never grant such order. I don’t have such order before me’’, the judge insisted.
But ARCON’s lawyer, told the court of being in possession of such order and read it in the court, it was said that the error must be from the court’s registry.
Moving the substantive matter, Nnabuike said the court cannot grant interlocutory injunction during vacation but an interim injunction. Besides, he said that proper parties have not been brought to the court, as both the third and fourth defendants were yet to be served.
Nnabuike said being a Federal Government agency, such matter is on exclusive legislative list of the Constitution and within exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court and therefore, FCT High cannot hear such matter.
To them, the claimants’ suit was brought in bad faith, just to waste the precious time of the court and as a ploy to distract the first defendant from discharging its statutory duties.He then urged the court to dismiss the suit, adding that it is vexatious, and an attempt to waste the precious time of the court.
Responding, counsel to the applicants, S.N Mbaezike, who contended that all the processes filed by ARCON were done out of time, could not be attended to by the court.On the issue of ex parte application upon which the purported interlocutory order was granted, plaintiffs’ counsel said he never moved motion ex parts but motion on notice. He added that the registry must have committed the error. Judgment is fixed for Monday, September 2, 2019.
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