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ECOBANK NIGERIA LIMITED v. ANCHORAGE LEISURES LIMITED & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44667(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Wednesday, the 13th day of June, 2018

CA/L/1413/2016


Before Their Lordships

YARGATA BYENCHIT NIMPAR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ABIMBOLA OSARUGUE OBASEKI-ADEJUMO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

ECOBANK NIGERIA LIMITED - Appellant(s)

AND

1. ANCHORAGE LEISURES LIMITED
2. SILOAM GLOBAL SERVICES LIMITED
3. HONEYWELL FLOUR MILLS PLC - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil procedure.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division in SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/1219/2915: ANCHORAGE LEISURES LIMITED & ORS vs. ECOBANK NIGERIA LIMITED in respect of a banker/customer relationship.

???In the course of the proceedings at the Federal High Court, the Appellant who was the Defendant at the Court, apprehensive that it might not receive a fair and dispassionate dispensation of justice from the Presiding Judge at nisi prius wrote the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, applying/requesting for the matter to be reassigned to another Judge as it no longer had confidence in the Presiding Judge. Before the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court took a decision on the application/request, the matter came up for continuation of hearing before the Presiding Judge.

At the resumed hearing, the learned counsel for the Appellant urged the Presiding Judge to take cognizance of the application to the Chief Judge for reassignment of the matter to another Judge, and orally applied that since the Appellant had shown that it does not have confidence in the Judge, the appropriate step was to await the directive of the Chief Judge or recuse himself. The Respondents' (Plaintiffs at the Federal High Court) counsel opposed the application and in a Bench Ruling the Court held that the application for the Judge to recuse himself was frivolous, refused the same and directed that the matter should proceed since accelerated hearing of the matter had been ordered.

Dissatisfied with the bench ruling, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the sole issue raised by the Respondent and couched as follows:

"Considering the facts and circumstances of this case, whether the refusal of the trial judge to recuse himself from proceedings is not correct in law."

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly struck out same.


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