The family of the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, has approached the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal by staff of Durbar Hotel Plc for lack of diligent prosecution.
The request is contained in a motion filed on December 16 by the family’s lawyer, Reuben Atabo (SAN).
In a supporting affidavit, it noted that the staff led by Abella Ityough filed their notice of appeal on March 2, 2021 while the Court of Appeal, Kaduna transmitted the record of appeal on August 28, 2021.
It added that in line with Order 6 Rule 5(1)(a) of the Rules of this Supreme Court, the appellants are required to file their appellant brief of argument within 10 weeks after receipt/service on them of the record of appeal.
The family argued that the appellants were already in default for two weeks as at December 16 and have made no effort to prosecute the appeal.
“The appellants have failed and neglected to file their brief of argument in accordance with the Rules of this Honourable Court. The appellants/respondents are not diligent in prosecuting this appeal.
“The appellants/ respondents will not be prejudiced if this application is granted. It will be in the interest of justice to grant this application,” it said.
The about 300 staff, suing through five of their representatives namely; Tyough, Boniface Onu, Mallam Shehu Abdullahi, Maurice Dachelem and John Ikpita – had filed the appeal marked: SC/CV/739/2021, to challenge the December 4, 2020 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna division in appeal No: CA/K/135/2020.
The Court of Appeal, Kaduna had in the judgment delivered by Justice Obietonbara Daniel-Kalio, set aside the earlier judgment given on November 8, 2018 in favour of the staff by Justice E. Y. B. Lolo of the High Court of Kaduna State.
The Court of Appeal, in its judgment, agreed with Atabo that the staff did not prove their claim to special damages to warrant the High Court to order Durbar Hotel to pay them N220million for breach of their contract of employment.
It also agreed with Atabo that the staff were not entitled to the additional N50m general damages awarded against Durbar Hotel by the High Court, on the grounds that such award violated the law against double compensation for the same breach or injury.
The staff had, in their suit filed in 1999 at the High Court, claimed that shortly after the Durbar Hotel was acquired from the federal government, they were asked to go on compulsory leave from May 10, 1997 for six months to allow for the hotel’s renovation.