Mrs Patience Jona­than, wife of the immediate past Nigeria’s President Good­luck Jonathan, on Monday suffered a setback when Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, de­clined to grant her request seeking to unfreeze her ac­counts which has a sum to the tune of $15.591 million.
Instead, Justice Idris di­rected parties to file plead­ings since issues have been joined as to who owns the said sum.
The judge equally made an observation that all the defendants had formulated issues of different dimen­sions from the one formu­lated by the plaintiff in the originating summons.
This, Justice Idris insisted will never be acceptable by the court.
According to Justice Id­ris, “The issues formulated by all the defendants are baseless.
“They go to no issue and will be ignored by the court.
“I hold that this court lacks the competence to determine the issues raised by the defendants in their written addresses having abandoned the specific is­sues formulated by the plaintiff in the originating summons.
“It is unfortunate. I say this because the issues raised by the defendants appear on the face of it good and deserving to be considered on their merit.
“But I as I understand it to be the law, sentiment has no basis in the adjudicatory system.
“Where processes are not properly prepared, any de­fect would render the pro­ceeding fatal as the court cannot re-formulate the is­sues for determination.
“There is a contention as to issues and facts as to the money’s ownership.
“In respect of this issue, the contention appears di­vided, and there is clearly an air of friction in the pro­ceedings.
“All the counter-affida­vits filed by the defendants contains disputed facts that cannot be decided without oral evidence.
“In the light of the above affidavit evidence, it can­not in my view be rightly contended that there are no disputed facts of substance as to the ownership of the said funds and the law.
“The issues of fact raised by the defendants herein are not spurious or irrel­evant.
“The affidavit of the plaintiff is also not conjec­tural.-The Authority