31st May, 2012
Embattled Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on Thursday challenged the jurisdiction of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to entertain a plagiarism suit instituted against him by Professor Dike, a Nigerian lecturer in the United States of America.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, Dike’s lawyer, Mr. Esan Itua, opposed the representation of the CBN governor by Mr. Austin Irabor whom he accused of failing to file and serve him a memorandum of appearance before serving him with Sanusi’s preliminary objection against the plagiarism suit.
According to Mr. Itua, ” I am opposing the appearance of Mr. Irabor in this matter. When a party is to defend a suit, by rule, he is required to file a memorandum of appearance. He is not proper before the court as we were only served a preliminary objection but no memorandum of appearance. We are not shutting him out my lord, only for him to come properly before the court”
Sanusi’s lawyer apologized for his failure over the memorandum of appearance and informed the court that he was merely holding brief for Mr. Kola Awodein, a senior advocate of Nigeria, who was unavoidably absent from court.
The court also refused to recognise two staff of the apex bank who showed up in court and stood up on behalf of the CBN Governor when the case was announced.
The presiding judge, Justice Adamu Bello told the bank’s official that they could not appear on behalf of the Central Bank of Nigeria since he was sued in his personal capacity and not as the bank boss.
Sanusi is challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit. He also contends that plagiarism is not within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Federral High Court and that the matter is not justiceable.
The apex bank governor also contended that Dike lacks the statutory locus standi to maintain the action. He further argued that the suit is not competent for reason of non disclosure of a right of action or a cause of action against him.
Dike’s lawyer acknowledged the receipt of the preliminary objection. And the court subsequently adjourned further proceedings to 17th July to hear the preliminary objection.
It would be recalled that the United States-based Nigerian lecturer sued the CBN boss for allegedly plagiarising his works. Prof. Victor Dike, of the School of Engineering and Technology, National University of Sacramento, California, said Sanusi breached his intellectual property rights without proper reference and citation in accordance with Copyright Acts in two separate convocation lectures he (Sanusi) presented.