The Appeal Court Holden in Lagos has adjourned to the 18th of June, 2015 the appeal filed by the Sea Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) and the Association of Shipping Lines Agencies (ASLA) against the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) for hearing.
The appeal was filed by STOAN and ASLA restraining the NSC from executing the judgement of the lower court in its favour which also affirmed the Council as a port regulator as pronounced by the Federal Government, recently.
Recall that a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos had in December 2014, ruled in favour of the Nigeria Shippers Council, instructing the concessionaires to revert to status quo of 1999 but the terminal operators filed fresh charges of stay of execution at the court of appeal.
The court has adjourned the case so that all parties involved in the suit will be able to document their briefs properly.
The court also nullified the application of ASLA new counsel Mr. Babajide Koku (SAN) because his applications were filed in the morning of the hearing.
The presiding judges however, maintained that the case will be addressed on the new date.
Koku is the another counsel that has been hired by the shipping companies to assist and join forces to the appellant Counsel of ASLA, Mr. Chidi Ilogu (SAN).
The appellants had filed appeal in motions asking for stay of execution of the judgement of the lower court , with an injunction restraining the Nigeria Shippers Council from enforcing the directives of the high court.
Guided by the Appeal Court, there was a unanimous decision by all the parties to expedite actions in all the applications.
The case involving STOAN against the Shippers Council has three application while that of shipping lines has four applications against the council
Council to SALS, Barrister osuala Nwagbara in a chat with newsmen shortly after the adjournment said,”We believe that on that date, June 18th, the court will give us a substantive date for the hearing of the appeal , with a view of determining the case ”
“The appellants in both cases at the appeal court which filed motions respectively for stay of execution of the lower court and also asking for an injunction restraining the council from enforcing the directives that the lower court gave or taken any further step to executive the judgment”
“It was agreed that rather than dissipate energy of the court and the parties involved in arguing applications that will be eventually be addressed in the substantive suit, it is better that the substantive appeal be taken which will involve all issues that are been requested to be addressed in the pending applications, which however led to the adjournment”, he stated.
Meanwhile, Counsel to STOAN, Mr. Femi Atoyebi (SAN) said that court adjourned the case to enable all parties to put in their briefs for the case properly.
Counsel to Nigeria Shippers Council Emeka Akagbogu on part stressed that the concessionaires were not ready to proceed to the application for the court thus the court adjourned the case.
He said” we on our part, because we know that the Nigeria shipping industry is suffering because of the urgency of this appeal, we know also the appellant would want this matter to be prolonged for as long as possible and as a result, we requested that the court proceed directly to the substantive appeal and make the pending applications to abide by the substantive appeal,” he said.