Tribunal Forced To Adjourn Indefinitely

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The misery of the over 30,000 Nigerians who went into joint partnership with the moribund NOSPETCO Oil and Gas LTD, owned by Alhaji Maiyaki Abdulahi  was compounded recently when the Investment and Securities Tribunal hearing their application was forced to adjourn sine die (indefinitely), following a notice of appeal brought before it by NOSPETCO.

At the tribunal’s sitting, the applicant and other respondents had prepared for movement of the motion on stay of proceedings brought by NOSPECTCO but on the contrary, it notified the court that an appeal has been entered on a ruling delivered by the tribunal on 13 April, 2011.

NOSPETCO argued through its counsel, Barrister Bamidele that by order 4 rule 10 and 11 of the Appeal Court, once an appeal has been entered and records of proceedings transmitted to the Court of Appeal, further proceedings at the lower court must be suspended.

However, counsel representing the 30,000 investors, Barrister Adeleke objected to oral notification entered by NOSPECTO, saying the company from onset had been using all means to deny the investors fair hearing, arguing that it is a fundamental issue.

After both counsel had argued their positions, the tribunal ruled that since notice of appeal has been brought before the tribunal and record of proceedings transmitted to the upper court, the rule stipulates unambiguously that further process in the lower court be suspended pending the determination of the appeal.

The tribunal said it is convinced that an appeal has been entered in respect of a ruling in the substantive suit and that the ruling in question bothers on the issue of jurisdiction which is fundamental and essential.

“As such, the tribunal will stop further proceedings pending the determination of the Court of Appeal. The matter is then adjourned sine die,” the tribunal concluded.

—Dedeigbo Ayodeji