Shipping companies head for Appeal Court as judge rules on STOAN stay of execution request tomorrow

Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos yesterday reserved tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, 2015, for ruling on an application for stay of execution filed by the Seaport Terminal Operators’ Association of Nigeria (STOAN) of his judgement in a matter involving the association and Nigerian Shippers’ Council.

STOAN is requesting for a stay of execution pending determination of an appeal filed by its counsel, Mr. Femi Atoyebi (SAN) against the Federal High Court ruling delivered on December 17, 2014.

Justice Buba reserved his ruling after he refused to acknowledge a letter of appeal the STOAN counsel claimed to have filed earlier.

The Judge, however, referred another request for stay of execution of the judgement he delivered same December 17, 2014 in favour of the NSC in a case between the Association of Shipping Line Agencies (ASLA) and the NSC, to the Court of Appeal.

At the resumed hearing of the two matters yesterday, Buba said the plaintiffs’ application for appeal was not validly entered into the court’s record.

He said the court has however ceased jurisdiction of the case between ASLA and the NSC for stay of execution because it was fully entered at the Appeal Court.

At the resumed hearing of the two matters yesterday, Buba said STOAN’s application for appeal was not validly entered into the court’s record.

He said the court has however ceased jurisdiction of the case between ASLA and the NSC for stay of execution because it was fully entered by the Appeal Court.

Counsel to STOAN, Mr. Femi Atoyebi (SAN), in his argument, presented to the court a copy of the application dated March 17th with appeal number CA/L/189/215 which showed that his client had already compiled the record of appeal and transmitted same to the Court of Appeal.

“We have compiled the record of appeal. We have transmitted it to the Court of Appeal and it has been received by the Court of Appeal registry with the stamp of the Appeal Court on it received 17th of March and they gave an appeal number CA/L/189/215.

“As far as the rule of the Court of Appeal is concerned, once the appeal is deemed entered, this court has no right or power to do anything anymore but the judge decided otherwise and he will go ahead and write his ruling on the application for stay of execution but every other thing is going to the Court of Appeal and we also have the right, if we are not happy with his decision, we will go further up,” he said.

Counsel to ASLA, Mr. Chidi Ilogu (SAN) said with the judge’s acknowledgement of his appeal, the application for stay of execution and injunction pending appeal will now be argued at the Appellate Court.

“We have entered appeal at the Court of Appeal and once we entered an appeal, they acknowledge all your processes. It is deemed that the case is now only to be treated by the Court of Appeal. So the lower court no longer has jurisdiction to entertain any application,” he said.

It would be recalled that STOAN and ASLA had both filed for an order for stay of execution and also filed notices of appeal against the Federal High Court judgement which dismissed their suits against the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) over the reduction of shipping line agency charges (SLAC) and ordered refund of container deposits within a specified number of days with respect to the ASLA vs NSC case, and reduction in progressive storage charges and increase in free storage days at the port with regards to STOAN vs NSC case.



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