The Court of Appeal, Lagos has dismissed the entire appeal of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) in the suit against Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS).
Justice Nwaoma Uwa who gave the judgment upheld the judgment of the High Court stating that the appeal of STOAN on SALS joinder in the case should have been raised at the lower court when SALS applied to be added.
The victory for the Shippers’ Council also means the Federal Government can extend the free storage period for cargoes at the terminals to seven (7) days other than the former three (3) days before the contain begins to incur demurrage.
Speaking to journalists after the judgment, the legal Counsel to Shippers’ Council, Barr. Emmanuel Nwabara said; “This judgment upheld that we rightly brought the preliminary objection that SALS joinder wasn’t challenged at the outset. The success of that preliminary objection means that there was no valid appeal against SALS at the lower court. Since that joinder was valid; it means our claims before the court are also valid”
Nwabara said that the appellants failed with all their grounds on appeal which were about 18; explaining that the judgment was just a summary of the main thing which was over ten pages.
“The two issues were; whether the lower court was right in allowing the joinder of SALS to Shippers’ Council in the case and whether the court was right in upholding our claim. What was given here is a summary of the judgment. When we get the full judgment we would know the statement of the court on Shippers’ Cohncil ‘ role as port economic regulator.” he added.
Meanwhile, the President of SALS, Rev Jonathan Nicol was full of joy after the judgment.
Nicol stated that the judgment shows the court remains the hope of the ordinary man in the country; “This is an encouragement to all stakeholders not to shy away from getting the court deliberate on issues that may be complicated. This means everybody in the maritime sector would sit-up and begin to do the right things henceforth”
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