A Federal High Court sitting in Asaba has struck out the suit filed by one Prince Efe Duku, challenging the Delta State government’s N150 billion loan facility approved by the State House of Assembly, (DSHA).
The claimant had sued the governor of Delta State, DSHA, attorney-general of Delta State, Zenith Bank Plc, the minister of finance, Debt Management Bureau and the attorney-general of the federation over the loan facility.
In response to the suit, the Delta State attorney-general, Isaiah Bozimo, led a legal team which included, Omamuzo Erebe, solicitor general and permanent secretary, S.O. Monye, director of civil litigations, J. A. Otite, deputy director, and Ogochukwu Okolotu, a senior state counsel, to oppose the suit.
Both the attorney-general and the counsel to the DSHA, Ekeme Ohwovoriole, SAN, filed respective preliminary objections challenging the competence of the suit on grounds that the claimant lacked the requisite locus standi to institute the suit and that there was no reasonable cause of action disclosed in the matter.
The learned trial judge, Hon Justice Folashade Olubanjo, in her ruling upheld the preliminary objections.
The court held that the claimant in his statement of claim did not disclose any wrongful act done by the state government and any damage suffered by him to warrant the filing of the suit.
The court stated that claimant lacked the locus standi to institute the suit before the court.
The court also held that no reasonable cause of action was disclosed in the claimant’s statement of claim.
The suit was accordingly struck out and cost of N500,000 each was awarded to the governor of Delta State and the DSHA respectively.
Speaking to newsmen after the ruling was delivered, the attorney-general stated that he was pleased with the ruling which upheld the objections raised by the government to the suit.
He stated that the court’s decision clears the way for the state government to go on with the important business of governance for the betterment of its citizens.
He stated that the state’s legal team was ready in the event that the claimant decides to appeal the ruling of the court.
Also reacting to the ruling, counsel to Zenith Bank PLC, Felix Eseni, stated that it was not enough for a claimant to just file a case without indicating his interest in the matter, expressing satisfaction with the ruling.
The claimant, Duku however said the legal team is studying the ruling for any further steps that may be possible and appropriate.