JUSTICE Doris Okuwobi of a Lagos High Court, Igbosere yesterday fixed April 24 for hearing on a N10 billion suit filed by the elder statesman and renowned lawyer, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, against Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited.
The judge had adjourned the matter following request by the plaintiff’s counsel, Ismaila Usman, in order to decongest the court, which had earlier stood down the matter in the morning for 12 noon to entertain other cases.
The defence counsel, Adeniyi Adegbonmire also raised no objection to the request for an adjournment.
In the suit, Braithwaite is seeking a declaration that the construction by the bank of a 14-storey building at No. 142 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island and a five-level park at Plot 141 Elias close, Victoria Island is unlawful and damaging to his rights.
He is also seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the bank or its agents from using or causing or permitting to be used for any purpose other than residential on the said site.
The claimant is demanding the sum of N10 billion as general damages for nuisance caused due to the noise and pollution of the bank’s giant electric generating sets, which led to his great discomfort over the period of 10 years. He further asked for interest at the rate of 21 per cent till final judgment.
He averred that the proposed building if erected would substantially affect the amenities value of his residence in terms of
availability of air as well as create constant noise pollution, thereby breaching the general peace and quiet of the neighbourhood.
The claimant also averred that every plan for development of the various sites suitable for building along the said Elias Close was designed and approved for High Class Residential purposes only.
According to the claimant, the proposed 14-storey building and five level car park would infringe upon his fundamental right to access to light.
But Standard Chartered Bank in its defence contended that the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the claimant’s claim by reason of the fact that the claimant has failed to fulfill the condition precedent to invoking the jurisdiction denied constituting any nuisance to the claimant.
The bank also contended that the action and its further prosecution against it is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the solemn process of the court and urged the court to dismiss the action.
The bank averred that the Lagos State government reserves the power and authority, acting by itself or through its ministries, parastatals or agencies to designate/zone all areas within Lagos state as residential, commercial and/or mixed uses.
The Lagos State government, the bank contended, has over the time designated other areas /streets both Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Lagos which were hitherto residential areas into commercial areas or mixed use areas like Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Adeola Odeku Street, Bourdillion Road Ikoyi, Adeyemo Alakija Street, Victoria Island amongst others.