Court okays action against Eko Atlantic project dredgers
A Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday held that Mondivest Limited has a locus standi to maintain an action against Eko Atlantic project dredgers, for damages caused to the Kuramo waters.
Justice Jude Dagat held this view while ruling on a preliminary objection filed by the dredgers challenging the plaintiff, claiming the sum of N2 billion as general damages on its property due to the dredging.
The plaintiff had filed the suit, claiming the sum as damages suffered as a result of the defendants’ activities on the Kuramo waters.
The defendants are M.V. Breughel (sister vessel to M.V. Congo River), the Master of the M.V. Breughel and Dredging Environmental and Marine Engineering NV.
The defendants had however, in a preliminary objection, urged the court to dismiss the suit seeking to stop it, on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked the legal standing to institute same.
Delivering his ruling on Monday, Dagat held that the plaintiff had a good cause of action. According to the judge, the Plaintiff (Mondinvest Ltd) had a standing to maintain action for damages caused to Kuramo Waters by Eko Atlantic project dredger.
The judge however, declined to grant an interlocutory injunction against Eko Atlantic project Dredgers.
Meanwhile, South Energy X, which is Eko Atlantic Project sponsors have applied to be joined as parties to the suit. The court has fixed April 15 for hearing of their application.
The plaintiff filed the admiralty case, known as in rem proceedings, for alleged coastline and property damage caused by the defendants.
The defendants are currently engaged in dredging operations in the Kuramo waters in furtherance of the Eko Atlantic project.
Among other reliefs, the plaintiff is praying the court to determine whether the necessary permits set out for the Eko Atlantic Project from Federal Ministry of Environment have been obtained.
Arguing their notice of preliminary objection on February 10, the defence counsel, Mr. Ken Okwujiako, had urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
He had argued that the plaintiff, not being owners of the Kuramo Waters coastline, had no basis for demanding damages.
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