The highly anticipated ruling of Nigeria’s Apex Court in Union Bank Plc v Petro Union Oil and Gas Company & 3 Ors was delivered today, Wednesday, December 22 2021.
It will be recalled that the Supreme Court had earlier dismissed an application for extension of time filed by Union Bank in this very appeal. This year, Counsel to the Appellant, Union Bank, filed another application seeking the extension of time to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal and leave to raise fresh issues and evidence on appeal, amongst other prayers.
We understand that it was during previous proceedings slated for the hearing of this application that the Supreme Court affirmed that Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN remained counsel to the 1st Respondent after receiving confirmation from the Directors of the 1st Respondent, Petro Union Oil and Gas Company in open Court.
At the last sitting of the Court on Thursday, October 7, 2021, Counsel to the 1st Respondent, Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN argued his preliminary objection against the application filed by the Counsel to the Appellant, Asiwaju Adegboyega Awomolo SAN.
Whilst making his submissions, Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN informed the Court that the Appellant had ample time to raise these issues at the Federal High Court and even at the Court of Appeal, but never did so. Apart from arguing the preliminary objection, he asked the Court to refuse the application of the Appellant for lacking in merit.
After hearing the Counsel, the much anticipated ruling in the matter was adjourned to today for delivery. Recall that the sum awarded to the 1st Respondent was £2.5bn but the judgment sum has increased to over £11bn due to the accrual of post-judgment interest.
Hon. Justice Adamu Jauro JSC read the eagerly awaited Ruling of the Court which refused the Appellant’s prayers to raise fresh issues and evidence on appeal. The Court, however, amongst others, enlarged the time within which the Appellant may appeal against the decision of the Lower Court.
The matter is likely to come up next year for hearing. Given that the Appellants have been refused their prayers to raise fresh issues and evidence on appeal, it will be interesting to listen to the arguments that will be canvassed at the Apex Court, next year.