A Federal Capital Territory, Abuja High Court on Monday, said it has no jurisdiction to entertain a suit seeking to stop Architects’ Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) from discharging its constitutional responsibility of examining those seeking to be registered as architects.
Within a judgment that took less than 30 minutes to deliver, Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris also vacated an interlocutory order made against architects’ council on 30th July, 2019.
After analysing the arguments for and against the order and the court’s jurisdiction, the judge struck out the suit, saying only the Federal High Court has the jurisdiction to entertain such suit.
However, efforts by ARCON’s lawyer to move the court to award cost against the plaintiffs in favour of the council met a brick wall, as Justice Idris said there was no evidence of cost incurred before him and therefore declined to make any order on cost in favour of ARCON.
Piqued by ARCON’s planned program towards registration of new architects, the following persons led by Ibrahim Kabir, Ayodeji Kolawole, Andy Imafidon, Dike Emmanuel, Opiribo West, Abimbola Ajayi and Emmanuel Ekeruche had approached the court to stop the council.
The list of plaintiffs also includes Nicholas Musa, who sued for himself and other interested registered architects.
Other plaintiffs, who sat for controversial Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) examination but are yet to pass through ARCON’s competency measures, who are not registered architects include Ademakinwa Olajumoke, Babjide Awonubi, Siyanbola Kukola and Emmanuel Adewunmi, who also sued for himself and other aggrieved person that sat and passed the NIA qualifying exams. They sued ARCON, NIA, Dipo Ajayi, ARCON president and Njoku Adibe, president, NIA, as first to fourth defendants respectively.
Resuming sitting Tuesday, the court was filled to capacity, and despite repeated efforts by ARCON’s lawyer to have the judgment delivered earlier, the judge in his wisdom scheduled the judgment till much later.
After resuming from his short break, some minutes after midday, Justice Idris, who first reviewed the case and submissions of counsel, said having taken cognisance that ARCON was a Federal Government agency, a Federal High Court, has jurisdiction on any administrative issue, such as the plaintiffs were complaining about.
“Having taken cognisance of the facts of this case and argument of counsel for both sides, and citing section 251 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, only the Federal High Court can adjudicate upon this matter. Therefore, this court lacks jurisdiction, and so, I decline jurisdiction,” he said.
Justice Idris added: ”And for want of jurisdiction, this case is accordingly struck out and the order of this court made on 30th July, 2019, is accordingly struck out.” In the final analysis, the court struck out the suit for lack of jurisdiction and discharged the order of injunction made on 30th July 2019.
Two weeks ago, the same judge had refuted an interlocutory order purportedly claimed by the plaintiffs that the court had made against ARCON restraining it from registering new architects pending the determination of a matter before it.
The Judge, in the open court, had said he never granted such order and expressed surprise where the purported order emanated from. The Nation