Badminton Crisis: Francis Orbih-led committee asks Appeal Court to nullify lower court order

The Francis Orbih-led Caretaker Committee of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) has urged the Court of Appeal, Abuja to set aside the order of Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, restraining them from assuming office.

Orbih and others, in a notice of appeal marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1128/2021 dated and filed on Oct. 26 before Justice Ekwo by their lawyer, Ubong Akpan, sought for three reliefs.

These include: “An order setting aside the order of adjournment to 17th January, 2022, for further report of settlement, made by the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting in Abuja and presided over by the Honourable Justice I. E. Ekwo in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1128/2021.

“An order setting aside and/or discharging the ex-parte order made on Sept. 29, by the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting in Abuja.

“An order setting aside and striking out the originating summons dated Sept. 28, and filed on same date.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Orbih and others are defendants/appellants in the suit.

However, while Kenneth Azuine is plaintiff/respondent, the Minister of Youh and Sports Development; BFN; Chairman, Electoral Committee in the ministry; Akintonu Foluso, Chairman, Election Guidelines Committee, and Bamiduro Olu, Secretary, Election Guidelines Committee are sued as 1st to 6th defendants/respondents respectively.

The appellants averred that they are appealing against the decision of Justice Ekwo to assume jurisdiction and make judicial determination in the case.

They said they are also kicking against his decision to adjourn the suit to Jan. 17, 2022, which by implication amounted to extending the lifespan of the incompetent earlier interim order made on Sept. 29 against the defendants sued at the lower court.

They further argued that the appeal also followed the imposition of out-of-court settlement process on Orbih without his consent.

The appellants, among their grounds for the appeal, said the lower court erred in law, misinterpreted the rules and acted without jurisdiction when it ”suo motu” adjourned the suit to Jan. 17, 2022 for further report of settlement.

NAN reports that Azuine had approached the court with an ex-parte motion dated and filed on Sept. 28.

The plaintiff, who sued the Minister of Sports, BFN, Mr Orbih, among others, had prayed the court for an interim order, restraining the defendants from conducting any election to any executive office pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

He also prayed for an order of interim injunction, restraining Orbih (6th defendant) from participating in any election conducted by the body until the matter was dispensed with.

However, inspite of the court order of Sept. 29, granting Azuine’s prayers, a 13-man committee chaired by Orbih was, on Oct. 18, sworn in by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, to administer the affairs of the BFN.

Against the development, Azuine brought another ex-parte motion dated Oct. 21 and filed Oct. 25 to challenge the newly sworn in caretaker committee members, among others.

Justice Ekwo, on Oct. 25, granted the prayers and nullified the caretaker committee, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter and adjourned the matter until Jan. 17, 2022.

Although the matter was scheduled for Friday’s proceeding, the case could not be heard due to Justice Ekwo’s absence.

The court, then, fixed Jan. 17, 2022 to hear the matter.

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