The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has maintained in its pending application for preliminary objection filed in Court against ENetSuD’s suit no FHC/IL/CS/28/2019 that the Ministry cannot sue and be sued, and requested for ENetSuD’s suit to be dismissed.
It will be recalled that ENetSuD had sued FMARD on 10th April, 2019 for its failure to respond to the Freedom of Information (FOI) request on how public funds it received for the execution of 2017 constituency projects in Kwara State were spent (read: https://bit.ly/35Mvn73). ENetSuD’s ex-perte motion had earlier been granted by the court on 27th May, 2019 when hearing of its application came up.
In the notice of preliminary objection by FMARD signed by its Counsel (Odoeme N.V.), dated 17th September 2019 and served on ENetSuD, FMARD prayed for ENetSuD’s suit to be dismissed, insisting that the Court lacks jurisdiction and competence to hear and determine the suit. The ground of the objections raised was that FMARD is not a juristic person known to any law in Nigeria and cannot sue and be sued, and that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit against it. FMARD also argued in its written address that the Ministry is not a legal entity, hence does not exist in the eye of the law.
In the counter affidavit from ENetSuD’s Counsel (Luqman Raji, Esq) deposed by his litigation clerk, ENetSuD insisted that FMARD is one of the Federal Government’s institution that can sue and be sued in the eye of the law. ENetSuD added that its application disclosed a cause of action against FMARD, and that the Honorable Court has the jurisdiction to entertain ENetSuD’s application. ENetSuD pray to Court to dismiss the preliminary objection of FMARD.
However, the suit came up for hearing today (14th January, 2020) at Ilorin Federal High Court. The presiding judge heard FMARD’s application asking for extension of time to oppose ENetSuD’s application and order deeming the already filed processes as properly filed and served by FMARD. FMARD’s application for extension, having not been opposed by ENetSuD’s Counsel (Lukman Raji Esq.), was granted as prayed.
The Court adjourned the substantive Application of ENetSuD till 31st January, 2020 for hearing.
The projects that FMARD failed to provide information on were facilitated by 8th National Assembly lawmakers from Kwara State and they include: provision of solar boreholes in various locations of Kwara Central Senatorial District, provision of solar street lights in various locations of Ilorin west LGA, provision of solar street lights in various locations of Ilorin East LGA, provision of solar street light in various locations of Ilorin south LGA, provision of solar street lights in various location of Asa LGA, construction of solar street lights in Omu-Aran, construction of Sheik Agbarigidoma-Oloje in Ilorin West, construction of Ero-omo Kilanko road in Ilorin South, grading and rehabilitation of rural roads in Asa/Ilorin west Federal Constituency, provision and Installation of 300KVA transformer in New GRA, Olounkuse Area in Offa LGA, among others.