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PLASTEX NIGERIA LIMITED v. MAINLAND OIL AND GAS

(2018) LPELR-43509(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 12th day of January, 2018

CA/L/335/2014


Before Their Lordships

MOJEED ADEKUNLE OWOADE Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

CHIDI NWAOMA UWA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

HAMMA AKAWU BARKA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

PLASTEX NIGERIA LIMITED - Appellant(s)

AND

MAINLAND OIL AND GAS - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Service of Court Processes.

FACTS:
The appeal is against the ruling of S.B.A Candide Johnson, delivered on the 21/10/2010, in suit No ID/724/2007 between Mainland Oil and Gas vs. Plastex Nigeria Limited and unknown persons.

In brief, the appellant Plastex Nigeria Limited was in this application the applicant and the defendant in the main suit. The respondent as plaintiff by their writ of summons and the statement of claim, claimed against the respondent now appellant certain declaratory and injunctive reliefs.

According to the appellant, the respondent filed the writ of summons and the statement of claim, and front loaded the witness statements and exhibits. On the 15/6/2007, the respondent was granted leave upon an ex-parte application to serve the appellant, a limited liability company, the originating processes and the interim injunction granted by substituted means, to wit by pasting same on the land in dispute. The appellant who claims that his head office is at Osogbo, Osun State, and its advertised place of Business in Lagos not on the land in dispute, could not enter appearance in-spite of the purported service of the appellants by pasting on the land in dispute. Appellant further stated that despite the non-appearance of the appellant in Court, the trial Court proceeded and granted an order for substituted service of the pre-trial forms 17 and 18 still on the appellant by pasting on the land in dispute.

The Appellant having failed to file any process, and or participate at the pre-trial conferencing, the Court upon the urging of the respondent entered judgment against the appellant in relation to the disputed land.

The Appellant further stated that on becoming aware of the suit, on the 17th of April, 2008, filed in its statement of defense and front loaded its processes at the Court's registry. The appellant's enquiries as to when pre-trial would commence proved to no avail, and appellant became aware that judgment was entered against it only on the 17/4/2008, and promptly filed the application seeking for the setting aside of the judgment delivered on the 1714/2008. On the 15/12/2009 the application was heard, and in its ruling delivered on the 21/12/2010, the appellant's application seeking for order of Court setting aside its judgment delivered on the 17/4/2008 was dismissed.

Dissatisfied with the decision, the Appellant brought this appeal.


ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the Appellant's issue as follows:
"Having regards to the facts and circumstances of this matter, whether the Court below was not wrong in refusing to set aside its judgment which is a nullity."


DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the appeal succeeded and was allowed. Consequently, the Judgment of the trial Court was set aside.


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