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High Court sitting in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, has struck out a motion challenging its jurisdiction in a suit filed by a limited liability company, Modulous Nigeria Limited against Dangote Cement PLC.
In his ruling, the State Chief Judge, Nasir Ajanah, held that the motion filed by the defendant (Dangote Cement PLC) was incompetent and consequently struck it out.
It was gathered that Modulous Nigeria Limited and Ayodele Durotifa, the company’s Managing Director, had dragged Dangote Cement, Obajana, to court in suit number HCL/25/2015 PLC over default in payment of agreed contract sum.
In its motion on notice the company said the defendant contracted to it, the construction of a block of two classrooms and an administrative block at the UBE Junior Secondary School, Obajana, worth N8.276,109.00.
He averred that it took a loan and completed the first phase of the project in February 2014, saying it submitted work documents valued at N2.18 million for verification and payment of the monthly progress bill, after work was certified satisfactory.
The claimant said Dangote Cement declined payment of N3.07 million (N3,070,049.99) being outstanding fees due to it from the work done.
Counsel to Dangote Cement, Messrs Benjamin Alagani, had filed a motion seeking an order of the court to strike out the claimants’suit for want of jurisdiction, saying it suit was not filed within the time agreed upon by parties.
According to the motion, the contract agreement had stipulated that “All disputes, differences in relation to the award of the contract between the defendant and the claimant be resolved in Lagos.”
But, Counsel to the claimant, Sam Owoyomi Esq., in his written address had raised a preliminary objection to the competence of the motion, arguing that counsel to Dangote purportedly signed a motion paper that did not have his seal and stamp affixed.
According to him, this omission is contrary to Rule 10(1) (2) and (3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners’ 2007 which provides for such counsel to be identified as a genuine and authentic legal practitioner.
In his ruling, the chief judge said “The seal and stamp meant by the rules is that of a legal practitioner who signed the document and not that of another practitioner who never appended signature to the processes. In the circumstance, I hereby hold that the motion filed by the defendant is incompetent and it is hereby struck out”, Ajanah ruled, saying he will continue to hear the suit.


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