The Federal High Court Ikoyi earlier today, granted the prayers of the National Executive Committee (NECOM) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to settle out of court with its Registered Board of Trustees (BOT), bringing a ray of hope to the association’s protracted leadership schism.
The plea for settlement is coming on the heels of a suit with reference FHC/L/CS/921/2020 brought against the National President of ANLCA, Tony Iju Nwabunike and 29 others, including members of the suspended NECOM , by Olumide Fakanlu and Gideon Nwagbaraocha ; acting on behalf of themselves and the Registered (BOT).
At the resumed hearing today’s morning at Justice Isiguzor Obiagor’s court, counsel to the plaintiffs, Barrister Olu Daramola (SAN) informed the Judge that the he has had a discussion with the defendants counsel over the latter’s violation of court order and possible out-of-court settlement arising there form. He also proceeded to request for a four week period to conclude the proposed out of court settlement.
However, Barrister Daramola informed the court that should the proposed settlement fail, the plaintiffs will return to pursue the case to its logical conclusion.
He said, “My Lord, it is the application dated 28 October 2020, the case in violation of the order made by this honourable court. I spoke to the lead counsel to the defendants and we both agreed that we should leave opportunity for amicable resolution.
“We agreed that we shall do that within four weeks. If we are unable to settle then we will return to court.”
Barrister O. Kadiri who appeared in representative capacity for the defendant’s counsel, corroborated the plaintiff’s fresh application to explore possible resolution suggested by NECOM, to which Justice Obiagor expressly supported.
He said, “I am happy to hear that, in fact, settlement will pay you better, sometime settlement is the best approach to certain cases. Winning a landmark case in court is not the same as winning on the outside, you could win a case and at the end of the day, your legs start swelling up”, he said, throwing the court into laughter.
He continues: “So, I support your settlement move whole heartedly without reservation.”
Accordingly, the Judge adjourned the matter to 9th February 2022 for further hearing.
Recall that two members of ANLCA; Olumide Fakanlu, Chief Executive Officer of Obokun Freight Forwarders Limited and Gideon John Nwagbaraocha, acting on behalf of themselves and the Registered BOT had dragged Tony Iju Nwabunike’s led NECOM before the Federal High Court in Lagos; following the disobedience to an earlier ruling on the same crisis by Justice Aikawa in the suit FHC/L/CS/921 of 26th August 2020.
It will be further recalled that Justice Aikawa in his ruling, restrained all members of the self same NECOM from parading themselves as National and Zonal officers respectively.
Whereas the Western Zonal Officers has since conducted themselves in accordance with the Aikawa’s court ruling, the National Officers has continued to carry on with the business of the daily affairs of NECOM, irrespective of the court restraining orders.
While the two plaintiffs and their counsel were present in court, none of the defendants were in court. Interestingly, the plaintiffs lead counsel Daramola had two other lawyers in tow at the court, Adekunle Adeniyi Esq and Barrister Funmisin Ologunorisa.