Defendants Nigeria Air, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the Attorney General of the Federation at the weekend filed a Motion of Notice with backing affidavits, seeking the Federal High Court in Lagos to transfer the suit filed against them on the suspended national carrier to The Federal High Court in Abuja, citing various reasons chief amongst which is jurisdiction.
This is just as the sources close to the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) are set to file a counter affidavit challenging the motion to transfer the case out of Lagos.
NigerianFLIGHTDECK obtained the Motion which was filed January 13, 2023 which prayed the Court for an Order transferring the suit, no:FHC/L/CS/2159/22/283 to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja judicial division for determination, being the judicial division of this Court wherein all the Defendants reside and carry on substantial part of their business.
The Motion also sought for such order or further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.In an affidavit in support of motion on notice, Counsel to the 1st, 3rd and 4th Defendants, Des-Bordes Felicia said as Counsel she has gone through the Originating Summons, the subject matter of this suit,however stressed that all the Defendants in this suit reside in and carry on substantial part of their business in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
The document read further, “That after carefully studying the originating process and other processes filed by the Plaintiffs, the cause of action alleged by the Plaintiffs occurred in the Federal Capital Territory outside the judicial division where this suit is instituted.
“That the 1st, 3rd and 4th Defendants who are not residents within The Judicial Division of this Honourable Court will be subjected to serious hardship in the event this suit proceeds to hearing and prosecuted within the judicial division of this Honourable Court wherein this suit is commenced.
She continued, “That the engagement of counsel to handle the instant case in the judicial division of this Honourable Court which is outside all the Defendants’ place of residence will attract huge amount of expenses on the part of the Defendants and that may likely affect the Defendants’ proficiencies to properly prosecute the suit to a logical and expeditious conclusion, and by extension, affects the course of fair hearing in the course of the trial.
She further stated,”That as a matter of facts, the Plaintiffs know that the Defendants reside inthe Federal Capital Territory. Abuja and equally carry on substantial part of their businesses which is outside the judicial division of this Honourable Court but still went ahead to commence this suit herein.”
Supporting the Motion another defence counsel Usman Suleiman Shehu esq and Maimuna L Shiru ( Mrs) they contended that the Defendants/Applicant are entitled to an order of this court transferring this suit to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja judicial division of this Honourable Court for the determination of same.
Meanwhile, rumours are ripe that the AON seeks to challenge the motion source close to one of the plaintiffs told our reporter that the AON and other concerned parties might oppose the planned transfer of the case to Abuja from Lagos.
He explained that a transfer may equally affect fair hearing and may lead to the manipulation of the case .The source said: “We will oppose the transfer of the case to Abuja. All the parties involved in this case are based in Lagos and AON’s office is also in Lagos.”