Court strikes out suit by Kaduna hoteliers, beer parlour owners challenging ban on alcohol sale

Variety of beer used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: nigerianbrands]
Variety of beer used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: nigerianbrands]

Justice Kabir Dabo of Kaduna State High Court 1 in Dogarawa, Zaria, on Wednesday struck out a suit filed by proprietors of bars and hoteliers, challenging the ban on the sale of alcohol.

Ezenobi Godwin and Adeola Sunday filed the suit against Sabon Gari Local Government Council on behalf of themselves and all members of the Hoteliers and Beer Parlour Proprietors Association Sabon Gari Local Government Area.

Delivering a ruling, Justice Dabo struck out the case for want of diligent prosecution.

Mohammed Yahuza, the lead counsel for Sabon Gari Local Government, told the court that the case was adjourned for hearing of the substantive application and neither the plaintiff nor their counsel was in court.

The judge inquired from the court registrar whether plaintiff counsel has applied for a stand-down or adjournment.

The registrar said there was no communication from the plaintiffs.

The defendant’s counsel, therefore, said that the absence of the plaintiffs indicated that they were not interested in prosecuting the matter and apply that the matter be struck out.

He also applied that the restraining order issued by the court should also be vacated and the judge granted the application.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on June 11, the plaintiffs sued Sabon Gari Local Government, seeking a declaration that the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) does not confer on the dependent the function of prohibiting the sale or consumption of liquor.

They also sought a declaration that the defendant cannot as a matter of choice refuse to perform its constitutional function of licensing the sale of liquor.”

On the same June 11, the plaintiffs applied for an ex-parte application for an interim injunction restraining Sabon Gari Local Government from stopping/closure of beer parlours, or sale of liquor, brothels in Sabon Gari Local Government.

The court ordered that status quo ante be maintained in the case and also ordered that the defendant should file an appearance within seven days and response to the summons within seven days so that the originating summons can be heard within shortest possible time.

The defendant, through its counsel, maintained that it was not banning sale and consumption of liquor in the area but enforcing its constitutional powers to regulate it at the local government level.

It added that the association has failed to renew its licences since 2018.

The local government also filed a preliminary objection to the suit which was hinged on the failure of the plaintiff to issue pre-action notice and improper service of the court process which offends sections 79 (2) of Kaduna State Laws.

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