A Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed an injunction sought by Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited seeking to restrain the Federal Government to stop further action on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway following the termination of a concession agreement with the firm.
The court found the preliminary objection of the Attorney General of the Federation dated November 16, 2015 challenging the jurisdiction to hear and determine the case as “meritorious”.
Justice Ibrahim Buba made the order in a ruling obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday.
Buba dismissed Bi-Courtney’s bid to procure an injunction, thereby giving the government the nod to go ahead with the reconstruction plan for the expressway.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had terminated the concession agreement with Bi-Courtney and subsequently got financiers, including the Infrastructure Bank, for the project, which is being handled by Julius Berger Plc and RCC.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, had reacted to the ruling, saying in spite of the legal hurdle, the project had been captured in the 2016 budget with billions of naira appropriated for it.
Buba held: “This action was filed outside the three months prescribed by the Public Officer Protection Act.
“It is accordingly dismissed and other issues have become academic.
“The preliminary objection shows clearly that the action was filed more than three months.
“Therefore, there is no argument that this action is not statute barred.
“This is the considered ruling of the court.”
The Attorney General had challenged the court’s jurisdiction on the case, while Motorways Asset Limited had brought a motion on notice on Februry 3, 2016 for the court to set aside its earlier order of mandatory injunction of December 11, 2015.
The firm is owned by Lagos lawyer and businessman, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN).
The court has adjourned the case to May 12.