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Court summons Malami, Emefiele on handover of National Theater to Access Bank

By Michael Ojo

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday summoned the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and five others to appear before it on July 24, 2020 and show cause why the National Theatre, handed over to some developers while the property is a subject of a pending litigation should not be reversed.

The Federal Government had on June 12, 2020 handed over the National Theater to Emefiele, and others under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee in a bid to transform the theater and its environ in Nigeria’s creative hub. CBN the Bankers’ Committee plans to spend about N25 billion as initial funding on the development of Creative Centre at the National Theatre, Lagos and three other major cities in Nigeria.

However, a company,Topwideapeas Limited sued the Federal Government over the handover, claiming that the national theater is a subject of litigation in a lawsuit marked FHC/L/CS/2392/2019 before the court.

In an ex-parte application filed by lawyer to Topwideapeas Ltd, Chijioke Okoli SAN, the company prayed for an order “suspending/staying the purported handover on or about July 12, 2020 by the 1st and 3rd defendant/respondents to the 5th-7thdefendant/respondents of the National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos and the adjoining lands thereto, pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s motion for interlocutory injunction (by notice filed on December 31, 2019).”

Mr Okoli in his arguing his application told the trial judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji that despite knowing that the matter of the national monument is pending before the court, the defendant went ahead to hand over the property to the CBN, Emefiele, Access Bank and Herbert Wigwe.

He contended that if not reversed, the handover of the structure would render the eventual decision of the court in the suit nugatory.

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Justice Faji in his ruling ordered Malami, Emiefele and others should appear to convince him why the handover should not be reversed.

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