Justice Muslim Hassan, sitting at the Federal High Court in Lagos, has thrown out a suit filed by Professor Anthony Elujoba (Plaintiff), a Professor at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The suit challenged the directive of CBN to Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) to freeze his account whilst under investigation over an alleged fraud.
Delivering its judgment, the court agreed with the submissions of Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, lead Counsel to CBN and held that the Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit against CBN on the grounds that the apex bank had acted in good faith in pursuance of its duties in accordance with the law.
It maintained that as such no action could be maintained against the regulatory banking institution.
The Court further held that the suit constituted an abuse of court process as there was a prior and currently pending criminal suit with the same substance before the Osun State High Court which any decision made in the current suit would overreach and render nugatory.
The suit was commenced by the Plaintiff in May, 2019 against the CBN, Attorney General of the Federation and GTB challenging the freezing of his bank account pursuant to President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order No. 6 of 2018.
Professor Elujoba, through his counsel, Dr. Adewale Olawoyin, SAN had argued that the freezing of the said account was unlawful and without due process.
He also argued that this had caused him undue hardship and that he was entitled to declaratory reliefs and damages in the sum of N10 million.