The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has fixed January 30th for ruling on preliminary objections in the matter seeking inclusion of Alesa Community as one of the host communities of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited.
There were five objections raised by the defendants on different grounds: They argued that they were wrongly joined as parties, that the suit discloses no cause of action against them, that they are non-existent persons and that the Court generally lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter.
All the objections were heard in court and the plaintiffs, Johnson Emere Mba-Ngei and Alesa Community opposed all the preliminary objections through their lawyer, C. A. Emenketi who represented them.
Justice Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt then adjourned the matter to January 30th 2019 for hearing of both the objections and the ruling.
All the parties were represented by their various counsels apart from the 19th defendant, the Late Emmanuel Aguma, the late Attorney General of Rivers State whose name has been struck out.
In an interview, counsel to the plaintiff, C. A. Emenketi explained further on the position of the matter before the court. His words: “First of all, the court has to rule on whether we should proceed on hearing of the substantive suit or not, that is where we are now.
“The procedure is that where an action is filed in court and a defendant challenges the competence of the suit or challenges the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit that must first of all be decided.
“It’s only when huddles are crossed that the court will now look into the main suit as to whether what we are asking is granted in law or not. So at this stage, what we are looking at is the ruling of the court, whether it has jurisdiction to hear the main suit or not”, he said.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff in the matter, Johnson Emere Mba-Ngei, said he is excited about the outcome of the matter in the court so far. He advised members of Alesa Community to remain calm over the issue, adding that their legal team is up to the task to ensure that the name of Alesa is not removed and that the community gets all its entitlements.
Mba-Ngei however wondered why the defendants don’t want Alesa to be joined to the suit, knowing the tremendous contributions Alesa is making to the success of the operations of Indorama.