3rd August, 2010
The activities of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, may soon be grounded as a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, South-West Nigeria, has ordered that all its accounts in the 24 banks in Nigeria should be attached to satisfy a debt of N7.9 billion being owed a construction company, Sanderton Ventures Limited.
What led to the court order started sometime in September 2001 between the Minister of Aviation representing the Federal Government on the first part and the FAAN on the second part, both acting jointly as guarantors and Sanderton Ventures Limited which was given a construction work to design, develop, finance, construct, complete and commission, operate, manage maintain and transfer the new Murtala Muhammed Domestic Airport Terminal One for 10 years after a construction period of 18 months.
It was agreed between the parties that any dispute concerning the agreement shall be referred and finally settled by arbitration.
A dispute arose on 23 May 2002 when the Minister of Aviation terminated the contract between the two parties.
Consequently, the plaintiff, Sanderton, submitted the matter for arbitration. Therefore, arbitrators were appointed. So many cases were filed by the Aviation Minister as to the composition of the arbitrators. All the legal actions were resolved in favour of Sanderton Ventures.
At the end of the proceedings, the panel of arbitrators consisting Justice E. O. Ayoola, Justice M. O. Onalaja and a lawyer, Wole Olufon, awarded the sum of N2.6 billion in favour of Sanderton at the rate of 22.5 per cent per annum interest from May 2002 until the date of the award and thereafter at the prevailing charges.
For Sanderton to reap the fruit of this judgement, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Barrister Olu Daramola from the chambers of Afe Babalola, SAN, filed an application before the court for the funds of FAAN in any bank in Nigeria to be attached to satisfy the judgement.
By the time the application was filed the judgment sum had risen to N7.9 billion.
However, when the matter came up this morning, O. Akanle filed objection to the proceedings.Â Sandertonâ€™s counsel, Olu Daramola also said they have filed a reply to the objection.
The presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, adjourned the matter till 23 September for the hearing of all the applications.