Magistrate court dismisses suit against Baraza for lack of jurisdiction

Yenagoa—A Magistrate Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital has dismissed a suit brought before it by one Mr. Peters Beregha against Baraza Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited for lack of jurisdiction.

In the court judgement obtained by, Magistrate Sarah Benjamin Inesu Avoh, while giving her judgement held that Beregha did not follow the stipulated process in the co-operative society law of Bayelsa state to seek redress.

According to her, “From the foregoing, jurisdiction is not vested in the courts to entertain disputes in the first instance. The court’s role is limited to enforcement of an arbitral award or decision of the Registrar or Commissioner.

“There is no record or documentary evidence that the procedure as set out in the enabling law, the Co-operative Societies Law, for which this court is called on to enforce following a settlement by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies.

“The Plaintiff/Respondent’s failure to have referred the dispute to the Registrar for settlement would cause this present suit to fail.

“The Preliminary Objection is hereby UPHELD. This Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this suit.”

Reacting to the judgement the Chief Executive Officer of Baraza, Arc. Oyinmiebi Bribena stated that “the situation Baraza found itself is very unfortunate, but I have always advised that legal option is not the solution. Some lawyers will not tell their clients the truth because of the benefit of legal charges.”

He noted that the management of Baraza is gradually sorting out the issues and appealed to members for further restraint and patience.

“Gradually all will be sorted out,” he said.

Also, a prominent member of Baraza who pleaded anonymity appealed to the management to be more transparent in their processes and try to communicate more often.

While complaining that the lack of communication is causing frustration among members, he also appealed to fellow members who have cases like this in court to withdraw same so that the Co-operative can have access to its funds in banks and find ways to settle members howbeit in bits.

It will be recalled that Baraza has been having a running battle with its members over its inability to meet the agreed financial obligation.

Acting on petitions written to it, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also sealed the corporate headquarters of the organization in Yenagoa.

Read judgement below:

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