The Federal High Court Sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has struck out the suit instituted by Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, former executive director of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) against erstwhile Chair of the organisation, Nnimmo Bassey, and the Board of Trustees of the Environmental Rights Development Foundation challenging his removal as Secretary in 2015.
Dr. Ojo, who was removed as Executive Director of ERA/FoEN by the Board on October 3, 2020, did not contest the decision of the Board relieving him as executive director, but instead approached the court to declare his 2015 ouster as secretary of the Board illegal.
After nearly two years of legal back and forth, in April 2022, at the request of the Counsel to Nnimmo Bassey, the Federal High Court Lagos had sought pleadings of both parties in the matter, but the plaintiff failed to file any process to the effect until June 9, 2022, when the case was struck out.
Presiding Judge, Honorable Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa struck out the case on the grounds that the Plaintiff (Godwin Ojo) has not shown sufficient seriousness consequent upon which the case was disposed of. Ojo will also pay the sum of N50,000 (fifty thousand naira only) as cost awarded in favour of the first defendant.
It will be recalled that at its Emergency Board Meeting held on October 3, 2020, to discuss the report of an independent Evaluation of ERA/FoEN, the Board resolved that the services of Ojo were no longer required and his appointment as the Executive Director terminated with effect from October 3, 2020.
The Evaluation Report which was adopted by the Board for full implementation concluded that Ojo who is “by nature of the position of executive director ultimately responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the organization and staff management is out of his depth, lacking both leadership and management sufficient to the task.”
The Board subsequently prohibited him from parading himself in any manner as representative of the organisation or in any capacity as ERA/FoEN Executive Director and took a decision to replace him with Barrister Chima Williams, the current Executive Director. “