MMA 2 concession breach: Lagos court fixes date for Bi-Courtney’s suit

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday fixed May 12 to hear Bi-Courtney’s suit against the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and others over alleged breach of a concession agreement.

Bi-Courtney Limited is claiming N66 billion as damages arising from an alleged breach of a concession agreement for the redevelopment of the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport II, Ikeja.
Joined in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Osita Nwosu announced appearance for the first and third defendants (FAAN and AMCON), while Chinedu Nneke appeared for the second defendant.
Wale Akoni (SAN) also announced his appearance for the plaintiff.

Nwosu sought a leave of the court to move a motion seeking a stay of proceedings in the “instant suit” since the parties were at the arbitration court.

In his submission, Nwosu argued that the court had earlier observed that parties were at the Court of Arbitration in another case.
He submitted that having made such observation, the appropriate order for the court was to stay further proceedings while awaiting the outcome of arbitration.

However, counsel to the plaintiff, Akoni, urged the court to dismiss the defendants’ motion on the grounds that they had not filed a valid notice of appeal.

Akoni said there was a valid notice of appeal before arbitration, adding that the defendant had failed to file same before the expiration of time allowed by law.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the motion.
In his ruling, Justice Ibrahim Buba upheld the argument of the plaintiff’s counsel and dismissed the defendants’ motion for a stay of proceedings.

The court noted that it had no jurisdiction to extend the time for filing a notice of appeal after the expiration of the 14 days allowed by law.

He granted the plaintiff’s leave to amend the originating processes.
Buba, however, added that the defendants were also at liberty to make consequential amendments if required.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bi-Courtney had filed the suit seeking damages, declarative and injunctive reliefs over an alleged breach of agreement dated April 24, 2003.
The defendants had earlier urged the court to strike out Bi-Courtney’s suit or stay proceedings pending when arbitration would be concluded.

On November 9, 2015, Buba had dismissed the defendants’ preliminary objection on the grounds that the parties in a sister case were already at the arbitration.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, the defendants filed a notice of appeal dated December 11, 2015.
They had reiterated that unless the court stayed proceedings, the Court of Appeal would be foisted with a fait accompli (an accomplished deed) and its decision would be rendered nugatory.


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