By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJAâ€” A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday dismissed a suit maintained by former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Mallam Nasir el- Rufai against the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ogbona Onovo, seeking to stop him from arresting, detaining or prosecuting him based on Joint Senate Committee on FCT and Housing recommendation that indicted him.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole dismissed the application after el-Rufaiâ€™s lawyer,Â Anthony Itedjere, moved a Notice of Withdrawal brought pursuant to Order 50, Rule 2 (1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 and under the inherent Jurisdiction of the court.
Joined in the suit was the Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister.
The court, had, at the last sitting, adjourned the matter for mention. El-Rufai, however, filed a notice for discountenance of the suit yesterday.
Itedjere who appeared for el-Rufai urged the court to strike out the suit because his client was no longer interested in pursuing it.
But counsel to AGF, Mr. Kayode Olatoke opposed the application to strike out the suit. Instead, he urged the court to dismiss it since parties had already joined issues.
According to him, el-Rufai had a similar suit before a Federal High Court, Lagos, seeking same reliefs. Besides, he submitted that a counter affidavit had already been filed in response to the plaintiffâ€™s claims.
Replying, Itedjere said the counter affidavit had not been served on him. â€œWe are not aware that the defendants have filed any counter affidavit. The proof of evidence shows service on one Charity without an address and we have no such Charity in our firm.
“The processes are such that we could have contested if we were aware of it. Moreover, the counter affidavit was filed out of time,â€ he said.
Ruling, Justice Kolawole agreed with the defendant that there was the need to look into the courtâ€™s record to reach a decision. Besides, he said the plaintiff could only show through affidavit that he had not been served the counter-affidavit.
Citing a Supreme Court decision, the trial Judge held that once parties had joined issues, except in circumstances where there are overriding factors, the order to make is to dismiss the action and not to strike it out.
â€œThis case on the strength of notice of discontinuance filed by the plaintiff is hereby dismissed.”