Nigerian polo players
By Davidson Iriekpen
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos has reaffirmed his earlier order restraining the Registered Trustees of the Lagos Polo Club and its Secretary and agents giving effect to a letter dated June 30, 2010 addressed to the plaintiff (Abe Ibrahim).
Ibrahim, a bona-fide member of the Lagos Polo Club, had rushed to court to seek an order to restrain the defendants from expelling him from the club after a letter was sent to him.
By the letter, Polo Club directed Ibrahim to resign his membership of the club within seven days, failing which he would be expelled as provided in clause 15A of the club’s constitution.
After the court granted the order, defendants filed a motion on notice where they prayed the court for an order to extend the time within which they may apply to discharge it.
But ruling on the motion, Justice Abang did not only dismiss it, but also awarded the sum of the N20,000 as cost in favour of the plaintiff.
The judge submitted that it was wrong to think that granting an ex-parte order in deserving situation is not unconstitutional, but it is the abuse in granting such order by the court that is unconstitutional.
He noted that a court of law in deserving and compelling situation and in order to forestall an irreparable damage to a party before it has inherent jurisdiction and in line with the rules of court to grant and ex-parte order, in most cases to maintain status quo ante bellem till the adverse party is served with the court’s processes.
Justice Abang stated that the issues was not whether the ex-parte order was made pending the determination of the suit or pending the hearing of the motion on notice but whether the rights of the person affected to be heard urgently or timeously is preserved by the rules of the court.
He added that once the right of the defendant to have the ex-parte order discharged timeously is preserved, it does not matter whether the order was meant to last pending the hearing of the suit or hearing of the motion on notice.