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Minna High Court adjourned N21 billion suit against power generating companies



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The Minna Division of Federal High Court 2 sitting in Minna, Niger State capital, presided over by Justice Aminu Mohammed Dan-Ige, has fixed June 10, 2024, to determine whether or not to entertain a multi-billion-naira ground rents and land charges case against the power generation companies operating in the state.

The Niger State Internal Revenue Service through its Lawyer Mohammed Kudu Ndayako, SAN and Aliyu Ibrahim Lemu SAN has filed dual cases against North-South Power Company Limited and its Power Generating Station as well as Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited and its Power Generating Stations for accrued arrears of ground rents and land charges.

However, the counsel to the first and second defendants, the Federal Ministry of Power and the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company, in the suit involving Shiroro Hydroelectric Power and the Noth-South Power Company Limited, Barr. Oba Maduabuchi, SAN, drew the attention of the court to its motion on notice seeking the transfer of the case to the Niger State High Court, which has the requisite jurisdiction.

Barr Maduabuchi argued that the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate cases regarding land and rent issues.

In his six-paragraph affidavit motion seeking the transfer of the case, he opined that it was only the state high court that had the jurisdiction to handle such cases.

In response, the plaintiff’s counsel, Barr Aliyu Ibrahim Lemu, submitted that no relief was sought in the application of the first and second defendants and argued that the counsel misconstrued the suit of the plaintiff.

Barr Lemu told the court that the case is an action seeking the interpretation and enforcement of the Niger State administration law 2022 and, as such, urged the court to strike out the application for incompetence.

Similarly, in the case involving Ka’inji Hydroelectric Power Company and Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited, the counsel adopted the same arguments.

The presiding judge, Justice Dan-Ige, adjourned the case to June 10, 2024, for a ruling.

The Niger State Internal Revenue Service has filed N127b and N21 billion ground rents and land charges against the defendants for their failures to remit the charges to the state government.

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