A Lagos High Court sitting at Ikoyi has fixed June 27 to hear all pending applications in a tenancy dispute between Greenwich Merchant Bank Limited and Union Bank of Nigeria.

The suit marked, LD/3713LM), is before Justice Taofiquat Oyekan-Abdullahi.

Greenwich Merchant Bank Limited, stated in its May 6, 2022 statement of claim that it entered into the tenancy agreement with Union Bank of Nigeria in respect of an office space at a building situate at Plot 1668B, Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos commencing 1st April 2020.

It averred that the space was rented to accommodate some of the Bank’s subsidiaries and is not the Bank’s corporate head office.

A dispute arose between the Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc regarding the terms and conditions of the tenancy.

Due to the seeming inability of the parties to mutually resolve the dispute, the Bank, instituted the action through its Solicitor, Dr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) against Union Bank seeking four reliefs including:

“A declaration that there is an express and implied duty on the Defendant to renew the sublease initially granted, subject to the new term and rental rate as may be agreed by the parties…

“An order of specific performance compelling the Defendant to immediately enter into negotiations with the Claimant for the purposes of agreeing on the new term and rental rate preparatory to the renewal of the sublease.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant from ejecting the Claimants and or its affiliate entities from the property unless and except in accordance with the due process of law and court order.”

Consequently, on March 24, 2022, Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi made an interim order restraining Union Bank (the Defendant/Respondent) from taking any steps to eject Greenwich Merchant Bank (the Claimant) and its affiliate entities from the property or interfering with their rights under the sublease agreement.

In its pleadings before the court, Greenwich Merchant Bank averred that the sublease agreement places the Defendant under “an express and implied condition to negotiate the renewal of the lease term with the Claimant, and also to renew the lease term, in the event that the Claimant exercises its option to renew”.

It said it had exercised that option via a letter dated the 2nd day of September 2021, but that “the Defendant has till date failed and or refused to respond to the said Claimant’s said letter.”

In its counterclaim, filed through its counsel Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi, the defendant asked the court to evict the claimant, arguing that there is no dispute between the parties to refer to Arbitration or Mediation.

When the matter resumed on Thursday 2nd May, 2022, Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi fixed June 27, 2022, for hearing of all pending applications in the suit.

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