• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Ajaokuta Steel Concession: Court extends restraining order, warns against flouting

Reps urge FG to make Ajaokuta steel company operational

A division of the High Court of Justice of Kogi State, sitting in Lokoja has warned parties involved in the motion filed by the Attorney-General of the state against the Attorney-General of the Federation and five others on the concession of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO).

Justice Josiah Majebi, chief judge of the state, presiding over the case with file number HCL/211M/2023, asked parties involved not to flout the order of the court, which has restrained the federal government from continuing with the concession process just as the court extends the restraining order pending the hearing of the motion on notice.

While warning that parties are to ensure strict compliance with the order, he urged all those involved to be diligent throughout the hearing of the case.

He said all defendants should be warned that where the order is flouted, he will not hesitate to wield the big stick by making further legal declarations against any defaulting lawyer and clients. He said it was imperative that lawyers avoid disobeying court orders and admonished them to always advise their clients on adherence to court injunctions.

Read also: Reps urge FG to halt plan to concession Ajaokuta, Iron ore companies

He stressed further that the major reason the court exists was to avert violence and crises and therefore noted that disobedience of court orders rather conflicts with the tenets of democracy and organized societies. Hence, the lawyers were charged on upholding the ethics of the legal profession and the restoration of the its glory in the discharge of their duties.

Justice Majebi warned the parties when hearing on the motion commenced at the High Court 1 of Kogi State. While the 2nd, 5th and 6th respondents consisting of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, ASCL and NIOMCO respectively were represented, the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents, consisting of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and the Bureau of Public Enterprises respectively, were not represented.

At the hearing, Muiz Abdullahi, SAN, who appeared for Attorney-General of the State, reminded the court that an experte motion was made for service of the court process on the defendants outside the jurisdiction of the court and report on the services indicated that all the parties were already served.

However, the court granted the extension of the restraining order following the plea by counsel to the 2nd, 5th and 6th defendants, John Madaki Esq., a deputy director in the Federal Ministry of Justice, who argued that they were served on April 28, 2023 and the process was assigned to him just yesterday and still within time to respond. The 1st defendant, the Attorney-General of the Federation, was not represented.

Hearing on the motion on notice has been adjourned to May 18, 2023 for continuation of hearing.