Barristers & Solicitors
Court okays N505m suit against law firm

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has held that it possesses the jurisdiction to hear a N505million suit filed by a an ex-staff of the law firm of Afe Babalola and Company, Mrs. Emengo.Milano, Cinque Terre & Lago Di Como

In the suit marked: CV/988/2022, Mrs. Emengo alleged malicious prosecution by men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) following a petition by some of her former colleagues in the law firm, where she was an associate having served for over nine years.

Justice Francis Messiri, in a ruling on the objection filed by the law firm, held among others, that his court has the jurisdiction to hear the suit as it relates only to the firm of Afe Babalola and Co.

Justice Messiri, who held that the proper forum to sue the police for malicious prosecution was the Federal High Court, struck off the NPF as a party to the suit.

“Flowing from all said in the ruling, the court with jurisdiction to hear the suit against the second defendant (the NPF) is the Federal High Court, this court can however hear and determine the claim against the first defendant (the law firm).

“This preliminary objection succeeds only to the extent that the name of the second defendant is struck out of this suit.

“Consequently, the court will now proceed with the claimant and the first defendant on record,” Justice Messiri said in the ruling delivered on October 12, a copy of which The Nation sighted on Friday.

The plaintiff is, in the substantive suit, seeking among others, a declaration that her prosecution in charge No. ABJ/CR/13 by the NGF at the prompting of the law firm before the Magistrate Court No. 10 in Wise Zone 6, Abuja amounts to malicious prosecution by the defendant

She also wants the court to order the defendant to publish an apology in two widely circulating national dailies and to award N500million as general, aggravated and exemplary damages, in addition to N5m as cost against the law firm.

Mrs. Emengo stated, in a statement of claim, that her ordeal started when she sued some partners and associates of the law firm before the National Industrial Court in Abuja for the wrongful termination of her employment, among other violations of her rights and those of her son.

She added that rather than respond to the suit, the affected individuals in the law firm petitioned the police and made sundry allegations against her.

The plaintiff said while her case before the Industrial Court, marked: NICN/ABJ/129/2022 was scheduled for mention on October 4, 2021, men of the NPF, acting on the petition, invaded her home on the evening of October 3, 2021 arrested her, detained her and later arraigned her before a Magistrate Court.

Mrs. Emengo stated that he Magistrate Court, in a ruling on November 11, 2021 upheld her objection to her trial and subsequently declined jurisdiction.

She claimed that he arrest and arraignment before the Magistrate Court was intended by the defendant to prevent her from prosecution the case she filed before the Industrial Court.

She gave the names of those listed as defendants in the case before the Industrial Court to include Afe Babalola (SAN), Adebayo Adenipekun (SAN), Olu Daramola (SAN), Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), Tunde Babalola, Peter Olomola, Sunday Onubi, Ademola Abimbola, Aiyakanyejah Ndah and Funmilayo Longe.

Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, before whom the case is pending at the Industrial Court, has adjourned till October 31.