The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, at the weekend described the Appeal Court judgement in the case between the agency and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited over levies payable to the maritime regulator as desirable to the nation’s justice system.
The Court of Appeal in Lagos had on Friday set aside the Federal High Court’s judgment which had exempted NLNG from the levies, on the grounds that NIMASA was not given fair hearing at the lower court.
Delivering the court’s judgment after hearing the parties on Friday, Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba, ordered that the case be sent back to the high court for fresh trial under a different judge.
In his post-judgment comments, Peterside maintained that NIMASA remained law abiding and would continue to work closely with the judiciary in matters requiring clarity and interpretation.
He said: “This judgement has further shown that the judiciary is unbiased and remains a beacon of hope for Nigerians. On our part as a responsible Government Agency, we will continue to work closely with the judiciary and other stakeholders to ensure that we realise our mandate of creating a robust maritime sector in line with best global practices.
“NIMASA and NLNG are neither foes nor competitors. We are corporate cousins working together for the common good of our great country. Judgements like this only serve to strengthen our institutions and ensure greater bonding”, Peterside added
It would be recalled that NIMASA had in 2010 commenced an action against NLNG, wherein it sought for an interpretation of relevant provisions of the Nigerian LNG (Fiscal Incentives, Guarantees and Assurances) Act, CAP N87, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, and the NIMASA Act of 2007.
However, the agency in January 2013 withdrew the action with a view to amicably settling the dispute out of court.