A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State presided over by Justice I.M. Sani has adjourned the case brought by a candidate seeking admission into the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Ene Ntang Ene and an indigene of the area, Francis Otioro to Thursday 25th January, 2018.
When the case came up on Monday 15th January, 2018, counsel for the two Plaintiffs, Mr. Inibehe Effiong who appeared with Augustine Asuquo moved his Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction to restrain the Interim Management Committee appointed by the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, to take over and manage the affairs of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron for six months, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Efforts by lawyer for the Academy, the Minister of Transport and the Interim Management Committee, Mr Gabriel A. Fan, to stop the motion was resisted by Mr Effiong who insisted that the motion was ripe for hearing and that the Respondents had failed to file counter affidavits and written addresses to oppose the motion as required by Order 26 Rules 5 Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009. Effiong also said that Mr Fan had also failed to respond to the substantive suit as required by Order 13 Rules 35 (15) of the Rules of the Court.
On the submission by Mr Fan that he can oppose the motion based on his preliminary objection to the substantive suit, Inibehe Effiong stated that the Rules of the Court forbids such practice and that the steps taken by the Respondents amounts to demurrer, a practice he said is not allowable under Order 16 Rules 1 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009. He also cited the case of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila v. Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria & Ors and urged the Court to discountenance Mr Fan's argument.
The court after listening to arguments on both sides allowed the Plaintiffs/Applicants counsel to move the motion for interlocutory injunction and adjourned the suit to 25th January, 2018 to rule on the motion for interlocutory injunction and on whether the Respondents can rely on their preliminary objection to oppose the motion.