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First Bank faces ₦4 billion lawsuit for negligence over customer account

The lawsuit revolves around the negligence of First Bank in handling the plaintiffs' accounts.

FirstBank building [Firstbank NG]

The lawsuit was filed by the Incorporated Trustees of International Vocational Centre (IVC) and Dr Pedro Manuwa, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

Presided over by Justice Chukwunweike Ogbuabor, the court's decision to postpone the proceedings was prompted by the absence of the defense counsel, Chris Aghanwa.

Maximus Ugwuoke, the Counsel to the Plaintiffs, expressed readiness for the hearing, but Aghanwa, represented by O.C Njoku, informed the court of an emergency, citing a doctor's appointment.

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Although expressing dissatisfaction with the delay and its associated costs for the plaintiffs, the defense sought an adjournment.

Despite the request for costs against the defendant, Justice Ogbuabor, in a ruling, granted the adjournment, taking into account the case's first appearance since the court's national assignment.

The lawsuit, initiated by the plaintiffs' former counsel, Chikadibia Anosike, revolves around the negligence of First Bank in handling the plaintiffs' accounts.

The IVC maintained two accounts, a current account (2027073629) and a savings account (3091251391) with the bank. Anosike stated that on February 4, 2019, the bank negligently paid one of the beneficiaries ₦150,000 instead of ₦15,000, leading to the return of unpaid cheques.

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Alleging instances of negligence, the plaintiffs claimed that individuals colluded with the bank to open an account (3141684991) under the name International Vocational Centre, Niger State chapter.

This account, the plaintiffs argued, has been used to demand and receive money from the public, tarnishing their global image.

Despite complaints to First Bank's Enugu Branch to close the unauthorised account, the plaintiffs asserted that their pleas went unanswered.

They highlighted the adverse impact on their reputation and the loss of funds for developmental projects as donors withdrew sponsorship due to the perceived dubious entity status.

The case is set to resume on January 16, 2024, as the legal battle unfolds between the NGO and First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

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