His Lordship, Hon. Justice Ikechi Nweneka of the National Industrial Court Lagos Judicial division has dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Mr. Ademola Opaleye challenging the court jurisdiction in a case brought by Overland Airways Limited for lacking merit.
The Court affirmed Jurisdiction and held that the action is not statute-barred that the terms of the contract between the Overland Airways and the Mr. Ademola Opaleye were mutually agreed and executed by both parties.
From facts, by notice of preliminary objection filed on 15th March 2019, the Defendants had prayed the Court to dismiss the entire complaint of the Overland Airways for lack of jurisdiction on the ground that the complaint is statute-barred argued that a public officer cannot be sued outside the specified period of three months.
In his oral submission, Mr. Toye Latilo, learned counsel for the Claimant argued that the cause of action relates to breach of contract and that the Public Officers Protection Act is not applicable urged the Court to dismiss the application with N100, 000 costs.
In his ruling, the presiding Judge, Justice Nweneka held that the 1st, 3rd and 4th Defendants were not acting in pursuance or execution of any law, public duty or authority in respect of the acts complained about in the suit.
“If the contract in issue is one which the parties have freely agreed to the terms of their relationship, the provision of the Limitation Act will not apply unless expressly incorporated into the contract.
“In the circumstance, I hold that this action is not statute barred and the Court has jurisdiction to entertain it. Consequently, the notice of preliminary objection lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed.”