The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday reserved judgment in one of the appeals filed by business mogul Alhaji Aliko Dangote against the judgment of Justice Muhammed Liman of a Federal High Court, Lagos.
Justice Liman had on August 4, 2009 directed parties to maintain status quo in a suit instituted by some aggrieved shareholders of African Petroleum Plc against Dangote, a stock broking firm, Nova Finance and Securities Limited, and others on allegation that AP’s share prices were manipulated.
Notwithstanding the court’s directive, the NSE conducted the election in which Dangote was elected on August 6 to which the shareholders filed the motion to set aside the election.
At the hearing g of the appeal yesterday, Mr. Rickey Tafa SAN, counsel to Dangote, urged the court to allow the appeal arguing that the directive of the lower court for parties to maintain status quo was made while the appellant’s motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court was pending.
But, counsel to shareholders of African Petroleum, Onyebuchi Aniakor, in his submission urged the court to dismiss the appeal and upheld the decision of the lower court.
In its ruling, the appellate court presided over Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, reserved judgment in the appeal after parties adopted their written briefs.
The application by some aggrieved shareholders of the African Petroleum (AP) was filed shortly after Dangote’s election despite an earlier order of the court directing parties not to take further steps pending the determination of a suit by the shareholders.
Justice Liman on August 4 this year ordered parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit.
Despite court’s directive, the NSE conducted the election in which Dangote was elected on August 6 to which the shareholders filed the motion to set aside the election.
The AP shareholders hinged their action on the ground that the election was allegedly conducted in defiance of a subsisting court order that parties should maintain the status quo.
Dangote and the other defendants filed a preliminary objection to the substantive suit and urged the court to first hear the preliminary objection before the motion to set aside the election, a request which the judge rejected.
It would be recalled that the appellate court has in a sister appeal the request of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) seeking extension of time within which to appeal against the ruling of a Federal High Court which annulled the election of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, as President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The NSE had in a Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Section 24(4) of the Court of Appeal Act, 2004 and under the inherent powers of the court sought for extension of time to appeal against the ruling of Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
Justice Akanbi had voided the election of Dangote as NSE president declaring it as unlawful because it was in violation of a subsisting order of the court.