Legacy projects: Court rules in Plateau govt’s favour

Governor Simon Lalong

The Plateau state High Court Friday struck out a suit instituted by Blenisson Services Limited which handles the Lalong Legacy projects of the state government.

The judgement delivered by the chief judge of the state, Justice Yakubu G. Dakwak, declined jurisdiction as canvassed by the defendants’ counsel in the suit.

The contractor Blenisson Services Limited, had in suit No: PlD/J144/2021, challenged the state government, its ministry of Finance, STL Trustees Limited and United Capital Trustees Limited, over the termination of the contract by Governor Simon Lalong, for an alleged failure of the firm to executive a phase of the legacy Projects as agreed in the contract terms.

However, the defendants’ counsel, Paschal Mammo, challenged the jurisdiction of the court, via a Notice of Preliminary Objection, on behalf of the Joint Trustees to the Bond used to execute the project, STL Trustees Ltd. and United Capital Trustees Ltd., sued as 3rd and 4th defendants respectively in the suit.

They averred that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case on the ground that the claimants failed to file the mandatory Pre-action Protocol meant to disclose on Oath, the step, if any, they took to settle the dispute before approaching the court.

In its ruling, the court held that the plaintiff’s failure to take those mandatory steps as required by the rules of courts “is a fundamental vice which robbed the court of the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Governor Lalong had initiated what he termed “Legacy Projects” of schools and hospital constructions across the 17 local government areas of the state.