Ecobank-Honeywell Suit: Judge Assures Of Impartiality

By Mitchel Alonge

Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has told counsels to both Ecobank and Honeywell that he would exercise fairness and impartiality in the discharge of justice in the matter between the two firms pending before him.

Justice Idris said this when the matter between Honeywell and Ecobank came up for trial before the court last week.

Prior to Justice Idris’ comments, counsel to Ecobank, Mr. Kunle Ogunba (SAN), had applied to the Judge to either excuse himself from adjudicating on the matter or await the decision of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, in respect of Ecobank’s petition against Justice Idris.

As reported in the media, Ecobank wrote to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court asking that the matter between it and Honeywell be withdrawn from Justice Idris, citing a lack of confidence and bias against Justice Idris.

In response, counsel to Honeywell, Bode Olanipekun informed the court that he only became aware of the petition written by Ecobank in the media on November 16, 2016.

Justice Idris, in ruling against the request by the Ecobank counsel, stated that if all judges were to excuse themselves from cases simply because litigants criticized their rulings and judgments, the judiciary would soon find itself in a situation where litigants chose the judges to adjudicate on their matters and this was not in the interest of the law. The judge therefore adjourned the matter to December 1, for trial.