Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

 An Onitsha High Court No. 1 in Anambra State, presided over by Justice Ijem Onwuamaegbu, has for a second time, slammed another N10,000 cost against a Calabar, Cross River State-based poultry feeds producers, Eastern Premier Feed Mills Limited, in favour of the Plaintiff, Chidozie Obeleagu, an Onitsha-based poultry farmer and poultry feeds distributor.

The court had earlier awarded the first N10,000 cost against the defendants for failing to file their briefs within a record time in a N56 million civil suit instituted against them by the plaintiff for allegedly supplying him with bags of poisonous feeds produced by the defendants, which he alleged did not only kill all his poultry birds in his poultry farm but also killed poultry birds in his customers’ poultry farms.

In awarding the second cost of N10,000, Justice Onwuamaegbu, who expressed displeasure that the defendants were yet to pay to the plaintiff the first N10,000 cost awarded against them, adjourned further hearing till September 26, this year, for further hearing.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Barr. Kenneth Ogbue, who held brief for Ike Odionu Esq., had made an oral application asking the court to award a cost of N15,000 in his favour against the defendants for negligence and failing to file their briefs up till date when the case was called up for hearing, adding that the cost would also make them to sit up.

However, Respondents’ counsel, Fidelis Obi Onyebueke, raised an objection to the Oral Application on the ground that he had already filed a motion on notice for the dismissal of the suit for lack of jurisdiction, adding that what he was praying the court to do was to grant him an extension of time, to enable him file his statement of defence and tidy up all the loose ends.

Onyebueke contended that he could not proceed with the matter with only the motion to dismiss the suit without first of all filing his statement of defence, adding that before the next adjourned date, he would have perfected everything in readiness for the legal fireworks.

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In the Statement of Claim, filed on his behalf, by his legal counsel, Ike Odionu, the plaintiff, Chidozie Obeleagu, trading under the names and styles of Obeleagu Holdings and Obeleagu Agro Allied Enterprises, prayed the court for a declaration that the defendant has breached his contract with him by supplying him a poisonous feeds that killed all his birds in the poultry farm.

The Plaintiff prayed the court to ask the defendant to pay him the total sum of N56,174,106 being the cost of poisonous feeds he bought from the Defendant in 2014, the cost of all the birds which the feeds killed after eating and general/ exemplary damages for breach of contract/warranty.

He noted that out of this amount, N50 million is for general/exemplary damages for breach of contract/warranty, while the rest are for litigation and total monetary loss of the birds in his poultry farm, including 1,600 broilers of six weeks old with a market price of N1,500 each and 678 broilers of 11 weeks old with a market price of N2,000 each.

The plaintiff stated that when the birds started dying, he quickly sent samples of the poultry feeds for laboratory analysis to Animal Care Technical Services Division (Poultry Disease Diagnosis and Acquaculture Lab), Asaba, Delta state which after the analysis, confirmed the products as being unpalatable for poultry use and consumption by broilers.

He mentioned some of his customers which he supplied the feeds with the same disastrous results as George from Umueri who lost 172 broilers of seven weeks old, Mrs. Ebele Ojukwu lost 124 broilers, Mrs. Ebele from Ogidi lost 109 broilers, Callista Igboka lost 327 broilers, Virginia Igwe lost 131 broilers, Mrs. Okwudinka lost 59, Mrs. Onyeje lost 129, Caroline O. lost 56, Mrs. Mmadukolu lost 132, and Mrs. Rose Ezeh lost 37.

He lamented that ever since then, they have been constantly on his neck to compensate them for the losses and at the same time stopped buying feeds and other poultry products from him.