An Enugu State High Court presided over by Justice Chukwunweike Ogbuabor on Tuesday adjourned a N4 billion lawsuit against First Bank of Nigeria Plc to Jan. 16, 2024, for hearing.

An Enugu State High Court presided over by Justice Chukwunweike Ogbuabor on Tuesday adjourned a N4 billion lawsuit against First Bank of Nigeria Plc to Jan. 16, 2024, for hearing.

The suit was instituted by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), called Incorporated Trustees of International Vocational Centre (IVC) and Dr Pedro Manuwa.

The adjournment by Ogbuabor followed the absence of defence counsel, Chris Aghanwa in court.

When the matter was called up, Maximus Ugwuoke the Counsel to the Plaintiffs informed the Court that they were ready for the hearing but counsel to the defendant, O.C Njoku who held brief for Aghanwa told the court that Aghanwa had an emergency.

He said he had an appointment with his doctor and as a result was not able to appear in court and sought for adjournment.

The defendant’s counsel, who was not happy with the development, told the court that stalling the case by the defendant had brought more cost to the Plaintiff who flew into the country from the United Arab Emirates purposely for the proceedings.

He, however, requested for a cost against the defendant but Ogbuabor in a ruling, said since today was the first time the case was coming up after the court returned from its national assignment and resumed sitting, he would oblige the defendant with the adjournment sought.

He, therefore, adjourned the matter till Jan. 16, 2024, for a hearing.

The plaintiff’s former counsel, Mr Chikadibia Anosike, in the statement of claim, said that they had in the last five years maintained two accounts with the defendant to wit: 2027073629 (Current Account) and 3091251391 (Savings Account) with the name International Vocational Centre.

They averred that on Feb. 4, 2019, it issued a First Bank cheque to several beneficiaries of their education fund but the defendant negligently paid one of the beneficiaries N150,000 as against N15,000.

“There have been incidences of negligence by the defendant in handling the plaintiff’s account which had led to several losses, ridicule and untold hardship on the plaintiffs.

“On account of the said over-payment, some of the cheques issued to those beneficiaries were returned unpaid. Some person(s) colluded with the defendant and have opened account number 3141684991 with the name International Vocational Centre, Niger State chapter,” he said.

The claimants alleged that such person(s) had been demanding and receiving money from the public and prospective beneficiaries of the scholarship funds, thereby, tarnishing their image.

The lawyer said that the plaintiffs had made complaints to the defendant’s Enugu Branch, demanding for the closure of the said account but every complaint fell on deaf ears.

“Many prospective students have been duped because of the said illegal account and the plaintiff’s image has been ridiculed and brought into disrepute globally by the reason of the action,” the plaintiffs claimed.

They also averred that they had continued to lose funds for its developmental projects in Nigeria as their donors had started to withdraw their sponsorship on the wrong perception that the plaintiffs had become a dubious entity.