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Saturday, 19 December 2015

Navy to pay firm N200m for Illegal Detention

For illegally detaining an oil firm’s vessel, the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Navy and the Chief of Naval Staff to pay Mercury Oil Limited N200 million damages.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke held that the Navy illegally detained the firm’s vessel, M T SAPPHIRE 1, and allegedly siphoned 280,000 litres of Automated Gas Oil (AGO) stored on it.
The company, through its lawyer, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN), sought the enforcement of its rights and those of the vessel’s crew – Folorunso Olayiwola, Joshua Arthur, Asabalashe Johnson and Wale Alade.
In a supporting affidavit, the company’s Managing Director, Osita Onumonu, said Mercury Oil was engaged in offshore operation to load AGO last February.
He said despite obtaining statutory approval, the vessel and its crew were arrested on suspicion of engaging in illegal operations.
Onumonu said the AGO was financed through a bank loan for N170 million.
The applicants demanded N200 million as general damages and urged the court to declare their arrest and detention illegal.
They also sought a declaration that it was unlawful to siphon the 280,000 litres of AGO from the vessel.
Despite being served with the court process, the Navy did not file any defence. Quakers, therefore, urged the court to enter judgment in his client’s favour.

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