The Nigeria LNG Limited, on Monday, said it had formally issued a demand notice for $315,598,823.29 judgment debt to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
The NLNG said in a statement that the sum represented the payments it made under protest to the agency since 2013, as well as direct and shipping losses it incurred due to the initial two-day blockade of the Bonny Channel by NIMASA in May 2013.
It said the development followed the decision on October 3, 2017 by the Federal High Court, Lagos that the NLNG was not liable to make the said payments to NIMASA, and that all such payments already made by it to NIMASA should be repaid forthwith.
The firm stated that the court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, further held that NIMASA was wrong in blockading the Bonny Channel for the purpose of enforcing the payments against the NLNG.
The General Manager, External Relations, NLNG, Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, said, “The Federal High Court ruling transcends being simply a legal victory for the NLNG. It must be viewed for what it really is: A resounding message from Nigeria to the global investment community.
“The message is that we can be trusted to keep our sovereign word and that Nigeria remains open for business, partnership and investments.”
NIMASA had alleged that NLNG was liable to pay three per cent gross freight levy on its international inbound and outbound cargo, Sea Protection Levy; two per cent cabotage surcharge as well as other sundry claims, all of which the NLNG disputed.
The NLNG in 2013 led the case at the Federal High Court against NIMASA, seeking a judicial determination on, among other things, the legality or otherwise of the levies sought to be imposed on the NLNG by NIMASA, and the consequent blockade of the Bonny Channel by NIMASA and its agents as a result of the dispute.
The NLNG said it had also sought a court order restraining NIMASA from further blockade of the channel.
It said an interim injunction granted in favour of the NLNG by the Federal High Court was disobeyed by NIMASA, which again blockaded the Bonny Channel over a three-week period while the matter was pending, thereby preventing the NLNG vessels and other vessels doing business with the company from entering and exiting through the channel.