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Court fines NNPC N10.6m over ‘unlawful roadblock’

Court fines NNPC N10.6m over ‘unlawful roadblock’
February 22
17:42 2021

A federal high court in Abuja has awarded the sum of N10.6 million in favour of Geoffrey Anika, a retired journalist, as damages against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over an alleged unlawful roadblock mounted in front of its corporate headquarters.

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Anika had dragged NNPC to court in 2013 for putting a roadblock which led to a ghastly motor accident, leaving his Peugeot 406 car damaged beyond repairs.

In his statement of claim, the plaintiff said he was returning from office at the Radio House on April 1, 2012, when he rammed into concrete barriers on the road in front of the NNPC Towers.

He claimed that it took the intervention of the good spirited Nigerians who rushed him to a hospital while his car was damaged beyond repairs.

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Anika further averred that all efforts to make NNPC compensate him for the incurred medical expenses and damage to his car were rebuffed by the corporation.

Delivering judgment in the suit on Monday, Babatunde Quadri, presiding judge, agreed with the plaintiff that the NNPC was negligent in blocking the high way without road signs as required by law.

The judge held that the evidence averred by the plaintiff witnesses against NNPC was not faulted.

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The judge further held that the claims of the plaintiff regarding the accident and the documents presented as evidence were not controverted.

Quadri rejected NNPC’s submissions which claimed that the federal government through the national security adviser, was responsible for placing the concrete barriers around its towers without road signs.

The corporation had also told the court that recklessness and over speeding on the part of the plaintiff was responsible for the accident.

But the judge dismissed all their claims noting that throughout the proceedings NNPC failed to call witnesses to substantiate their claim.

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The judge added that the evidence from the police was proof to show that the accident was caused along with four others by the unlawful placement of concrete barriers on the road.

Consequently, the judge awarded N5.1 million in favour of the plaintiff, being the cost of the damaged vehicle, another N5 million as special damages, while N500,000 was granted as the cost of litigation.

 

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