The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has set aside the judgement of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which empowered the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria to take over the landed property of a firm, Suru Wordwide Ventures Nigeria Limited, over an allegedly unpaid loan obtained from the defunct Oceanic Bank, which was acquired by Ecobank.
The appellate court, in a lead judgement by Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu, held that the failure of AMCON to join Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited as a defendant in its suit before the Federal High Court rendered the proceedings leading to the takeover order a nullity.
AMCON had in its suit before the Federal High Court in Lagos prayed the court to order security agencies to offer it protection so as to enable it to exercise its possessory rights as a legal mortgagee under the Deeds of Legal Mortgage, over Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited’s landed properties.
The lower court, in a May 30, 2017, granted AMCON’s prayer.
But Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited appealed against the judgement on the grounds that it was denied fair hearing because it was not joined as a defendant.
In the lead appellate court’s judgement, Justice Ogakwu agreed with Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited that its right to fair hearing was breached.
The appellate court, therefore, voided the takeover of Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited by AMCON and ordered that the matter be returned to the Federal High Court for fresh hearing.