Court strikes out terminal operators’ suit against NPA, Attorney General

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Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday struck out a suit filed by the Port and Terminal Operators Nigeria Ltd (PTOL) against the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PTOL had alleged that since October 2013, vessels meant for their jetty were diverted to another terminal concession to Intels Nigeria Ltd by NPA.

It urged the court to stop the diversion.

Justice Saidu, however, struck out the case on the grounds that his court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain such a case, saying the NPA Act reserved such issues for the Court of Arbitration.

Meanwhile, Intels has been joined in the suit on the grounds that the outcome of the case would impact directly on its business.

NAN also reports that PTOL had filed originating summons and a motion ex-parte at Justice Saliu Saidu’s court and obtained an interim injunction on May 20, 2015.

The injunction restrained the defendants from diverting two vessels meant for the plaintiffs’ terminal and any other vessel meant for the plaintiffs’ terminal pending the hearing of the originating summons.

The PTOL case is premised on the fact that they are the lessee of Terminal “A” in Port Harcourt by virtue of a concession agreement between the company and the Federal Government.

Under the agreement, PTOL claimed that it is entitled to receive vessels and cargoes of all descriptions in its terminal.

PTOL also alleged that since October 2013, NPA has been diverting vessels meant for their terminal to another terminal concession to Intels on the grounds that cargoes, pipes and dismantled rigs are classified as oil and gas cargo.

Following the PTOL suit, NPA filed a motion on notice seeking an order of the court to dismiss the entire suit for lack of jurisdiction on the grounds that no pre-action notice was issued to the first defendant.

NPA said lack of pre-action notice was a contravention of Section 92(1) of the NPA Act and asked the court to dismiss the suit. (NAN)

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