By Ononye VC

The Federal High Court sitting at Awka, last Thursday struck out a suit by Onitsha Landlords Association and The Rock of Fire Global Ministries against Anambra State Government and the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha over ownership of Ugborimili Primary Schools, Housing Estate, Fegge, Onitsha. This development followed the Notice of Preliminary Objection filed and argued by Senior Counsel, Barr Azubike Anazor who represented the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha. Anazor had in court challenged the competence of the Plaintiffs to sue, arguing that competence to sue is a vital factor in determining the competence of the action itself. He submitted that where the Plaintiffs are not juristic persons, they can neither sue nor be sued, and any action instituted in the circumstance is liable to be struck out in limine. Anazor argued that Onitsha South Landlords Association lacks legal personality to sue the Church, ditto the Rock of Fire Global Ministries. Anazor further submitted that these are bodies not cognizable by law. The Plaintiffs resisted the striking out of their suit through their counsel. But in the end, following a reserved and well considered ruling, the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice H.A. Nganjiwa, agreed with the reasoning and submissions of Barr Anazor, struck out the case and awarded N150,000 costs against the Applicants. It should be noted that this is the 2nd loss suffered in the last 30 days by applicants over the issue of possession and ownership of Ugborimili Primary Schools. Recall that an Onitsha High Court, presided over by Justice Nweze, had on 22nd June 2022 dismissed a similar suit by a different set of Applicants over the subject matter. In both cases, C. O Ogugua Esq appeared for the Applicants while Azubike Anazor Esq defended the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha.

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