I never said Court of Appeal recognized NSC as port regulator – Lawyer 

Emeka Akabogu

Lawyer to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Emeka Akabogu, has said that at no time did he claim that the Court of Appeal upheld the position of the Council as economic regulator of the nation’s seaports.

Reacting to a story published by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday, Akabogu said, “I certainly never made any such claim, neither Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, or anybody from his office did.” 

SHIPS & PORTS DAILY reported yesterday that contrary to some media reports, the Court of Appeal did not, in its ruling of 21 June 2017, uphold the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as port economic regulator. 

The court actually nullified the appointment of NSC as economic regulator of the port. 

In its ruling on a matter between the Association of Shipping Line Agencies (ASLA) and the NSC, the appellate court said that an order made by former President Goodluck Jonathan and a regulation made by the Minister of Transport Idris Umar in 2015 appointing NSC as the port economic regulator were inconsistent with the provisions of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Act and NSC Act. 

The court ruled that any appointment of NSC as economic regulator can only be made by amending the NSC Act and the NPA Act. 

The court further held that the President of Nigeria has no power pursuant to Sections 5 and 148 of the Constitution to issue a subsidiary regulation or order that is contrary to a law validly made by the National Assembly as the executive powers of the President under Section 5 of the Constitution is to administratively implement laws made by the National Assembly. 

The court in agreeing with the argument of ASLA’s counsels held that the power to regulate the port including economic regulation lies with NPA pursuant to the NPA Act and any power of the President to appoint an economic regulator ought to have taken into cognisance provisions of the NPA Act. 

The Court of Appeal also ruled that a public notice issued by the NSC on Wednesday 29th October 2014 directing shipping companies who are members of ASLA to reverse their Shipping Line Agency Charges (SLAC) is null and void and of no effect having failed to comply with the provisions of Section 3(f) of the Shippers’ Council Act and Paragraph 2(1) NSC (Local Shipping Charges on Imports and Exports) Regulations 1997.

The Court further granted perpetual injunction against the NSC from implementing and enforcing the contentious public notice, which led to the court case.     

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