Terminal operator loses case against NPA at Federal High Court

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

 In the suit, PTOL alleged that since October 2013 vessels meant for its jetty were diverted to another terminal concessioned to Intels Nigeria Limited by the NPA and prayed the court to stop such diversion.

However, Justice Saidu struck out the case on grounds that his court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain such matter since the NPA Act reserved such matters for the Court of Arbitration.  

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

It will be recalled that PTOL filed originating summons and vide a Motion Ex-parte brought before Justice Saliu Saidu, obtained an order of 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.

PTOL case is premised on the fact that they are the Lessee of Terminal ``A" Port Harcourt by virtue of a Concession Agreement between the company and the Federal Government.

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

PTOL also alleged that since October 2013, NPA has been diverting vessels meant for their terminal to another terminal concessioned to Intels on the grounds that cargoes and 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 want of jurisdiction on the grounds that no pre-action notice was issued to the first defendant.

NPA submitted that lack of pre-action notice is in ``contravention of Section 92(1) of the NPA Act, Cap. N126, LFN, Vol. 12.

Based on the contravention, NPA prayed the court to dismiss the entire suit which Justice Saidu granted today.