Nigeria: Group sues US firm, GE Oil & Gas for N110.25bn

*Hammer & gavel.

*Hammer & gavel.

20 December 2015, Lagos — A group of Nigerians under the aegis of Salof Industries Nigeria Limited, has dragged USA based companies, General Electric (GE)Oil and Gas, USA and Salof Companies, USA, to an Igbosere High Court Lagos, claiming N110.25 billion as damages for breach of contract.

In a suit number: LD/5113/14 filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) on behalf of the claimants, operating an indigenous Nigerian company, they averred that on September 29, 2007, they entered into an agreement with the US based firm as ‘’sole agent’’ to source for contracts from the state and federal governments and oil companies in the country, as well as to remain its ‘’technical partner’’ in the manufacturing of LNG and LPG plants and other refrigerator system.

In another agreement, which the Nigerians said they had further entered into with the US based company, they averred that the defendant agreed to pay them a commission of 20 % in all orders that originated from Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda.

They added by a letter dated October 5, 2010, the US based company further undertook to pay them a 5 % commission on orders the company received from other companies in Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda that did not directly emanate from them (claimants), and further confirmed in the said letter that it would pay them 20 % commission for all orders received from them.

The Nigerians: Dr. Christopher Chidi; Hon. E. J Agbonayinma, and Mr. Oghenekaro Jockey, said they enjoyed a good contractual relationship with the US based company as all parties adhered strictly to the terms of the contract agreement after the signing of same, until May 6, 2013, when they received an email message from the defendant unilaterally terminating all the contracts.

The Nigerians further averred that before the US based company cancelled the contract, and based on the contractual agreement, they had embarked on the design of a turnkey project with the support of the defendant, in partnership with UDDIPCO for Chevron Nigerian Limited, which had reached an advance stage before the agreement was truncated.

The Nigerians added that the action of the defendant had painted them in very bad light in the oil industries and the entire business community in Nigeria and abroad, while also losing good will of their customers.

Consequently, the Nigerians asked the court to declare that the agreement they entered into with the US based company was still valid and subsisting, and that the defendant were duty bound to honour and give effect to the agreement.

Alternatively, they asked the court to order General Electric (GE) Oil and Gas to pay them the sum of N100 billion as ‘’general damages’’, another N10 billion as ‘’general and exemplary damages’’ for breach of contract and the sum of N25 million only as cost of their suit. The case has been fixed for February 24, 2016 for the hearing.
*Iyobosa Uwugiaren – Thisday

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