NIMASA to pay N6.8bn for detention of kerosene-laden vessel

Abdulwahab Abdulah

20 November 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – An Appeal Court in Lagos has ordered the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, to pay to the account of the court a sum of N6.8 billion being a judgment debt over alleged unlawful detention of a commercial vessel, belonging to Hensmor Nigeria Limited on March 14, 2006.

NIMASA had arrested the kerosene-laden vessel belonging to Hensmor Nigeria for five years, which resulted in litigation and the case was eventually won by the company at the trial court.

In a unanimous ruling by the three presiding justices, the appellate court ordered NIMASA to pay the sum to the Registrar of the court on an interest yielding account domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Plc, within 7 days of the ruling.

In the ruling read by Justice Adamu Jauro and agreed to by the two other justices, the court ordered NIMASA to pay the judgment sum into the bank account while adjourning the motion for appeal filed by the agency against the substantive judgment of the trial court till February 11, 2013.

The judge, also awarded monetary compensation for the plaintiff, for what he described as extreme reprehensible conduct and a gross disregard for the rule of law.

About the Author

  • Just when we think all hope of redemption for the Nigerian system is lost, something occurs to remind us of the ressilience of the human spirit. Even though we know it may prove difficult, if not impossible to get NIMASA to cough up N6.8bn, we hope the significance of the judgement is not lost on NIMASA and other government agencies, especially regarding the need to eschew highhandedness in the implementation of their statutory functions. Government must investigate the circumstances involving the detention of the Kerosene laden vessel and take measures to guard against future abuses.