From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna

Justice Mohammed Aminu Dan Ige of the Federal High Court, Minna, has adjourned till May 22, hearing in the suit filed by the Niger State Internal Revenue Service (NGSIRS) against the Federal Ministry of Power over ground rent.

The NGSIRS is praying the court to compel the defendants to pay the sum of over N138 billion, being the total of Ground Rent liabilities owed the Niger State Government by the 3 Hydro-electric Power plants in the State.

The suit No FHC/MN/CS02/ 2024, has Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company, Mainstream Energy Solutions Company Ltd and North-South Power Company Ltd to May 22, 2024 as defendants.

Others are the Federal Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company, Mainstream Energy Solutions Ltd and North South Power Company.

When the matter came up for hearing, Counsel to the first and second defendants; Barrister Abdulmalik Usman Dauda filed a Motion on Notice challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.

Responding, Counsel to the NGSIRS, Aliyu Ibrahim Lemu SAN, requested for time to reply the motion on point of law.

Consequently, Justice Aminu Dan Ige adjourned the case to Wednesday 22nd of May 2024 for the continuation of the hearing of the motion before the commencement of the substantive case to which both counsels collectively agreed.

Speaking in an interview with Journalists shortly after the court sitting, Aliyu Ibrahim Lemu SAN, stated that the court has to commence full hearing on the next adjourned date no matter the delay tactics by the legal teams of the defendants.

On his part, Barrister Abdulmalik Usman Dauda, Counsel to the defendants, stated that they were in court to challenge its Jurisdiction over, through the Motion on Notice filed at the court.

He stated that the Federal High Court is a court of enumerated jurisdiction as provided by Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

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