The court has waded into the lingering fight over terminals and cargo categorisation in the nationâ€™s seaports.
To this end, Justice A.R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja has issued an interim order directing the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and four others to maintain the status quo in a suit filed by INTELS Nigeria Limited on the de-categorization of terminals at the nationâ€™s seaports.
INTELS, which filed the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/417/2017 at the Federal High Court Abuja, is, among other reliefs, asking the court to issue an order stopping NPA and other defendants including their representatives, agents or privies from implementing a proposed policy review which purports to cancel the designation of ports and terminals in Nigeria having led it into committing huge human, financial and material resources into developing five port terminals located in Calabar Terminal A, Warri Old Terminal A, Warri New Port Terminal B, Onne Port Federal Ocean Terminal A and Onne Port Federal Lighter Terminal B.
The defendants in the suit are the Federal Government of Nigeria, Attorney General of the Federation, NPA, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
INTELS also asked the court to make a declaration that the five lease agreements it entered into and executed between the plaintiff and the third, fourth and fifth defendants (who executed same for and on behalf of the first and second defendants) in respect of Warri New Terminal, Warri Old Terminal, Federal Lighter Terminal B, Calabar Terminal A and Federal Ocean Terminal A, all dated 24th October 2005 for 25 years renewable leasehold are still subsisting.
Other reliefs sought by the company include a declaration that the defendants are duty-bound to honour, perform and fulfil their contractual obligations as stated in the five lease agreements all dated October 24, 2005 between the plaintiff and the third, fourth and fifth defendants acting for and on behalf of the first and second defendants; a declaration that the plaintiff has not in any way whatsoever and howsoever, breached, violated and or failed to perform any of its duties and obligations as stated in the five lease agreements entered into and executed between the plaintiff, and the third, fourth and fifth defendants acting for and on behalf of the first and second defendants; and an order of estoppel stopping the defendants, their representatives, agents or privies from implementing the proposed policy review, which purports to cancel the designation of ports and terminals in Nigeria having led the plaintiff into third party project financing agreements located at oil and gas designated terminals.
The plaintiff also requested the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the defendants, their agents, representatives or privies howsoever described from doing, directing, carrying out, executing or implementing any policy, directives, act or act which are capable of diverting traffic, customers, sales, patronage or otherwise that would affect the spirit and intendment of the five lease agreements, revenue generation, profits, returns on investment and any other projection or projections of the plaintiff made pursuant to the five lease agreements all dated October 24, 2005.
Justice Mohammed directed that all parties in the suit to maintain status quo regarding the subject matter of the action pending the decision of the court on whether it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit or not.
He adjourned the matter to June 13, 2017 for hearing of the first, second and third defendantsâ€™ preliminary objections together with the plaintiffâ€™s motion on notice for order of interlocutory injunction.