A federal court in Abuja on Monday awarded the sum of N10.6 million in damages to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for illegally blocking the highway outside its head office in Abuja, which led to a terrible car accident.
The amount was awarded in favor of a seasoned journalist, His Royal Highness, Eze Geo Anika, whose Peugeot 406 with registration number DP 41 EKY was damaged beyond repairs in 2012 as a result of the illegal blockade .
In delivering judgment in a lawsuit against the NNPC, Judge Babatunde Quadiri agreed with the plaintiff that the NNPC had been negligent in blocking the highway without road signs as required by law.
The judge ruled that the evidence of the monarch’s witnesses that concrete barriers had been placed on the highway by the NNPC to prevent an attack by Boko Haram terrorists was not criticized.
Judge Quadri further argued that the complainant’s allegations regarding the accident and the documents submitted in support of his allegations had not been contested by the NNPC or its witnesses.
The judge rejected the NNPC’s claim that the federal government, through the NSA National Security Advisor, was responsible for putting up concrete barriers around NNPC towers without signage, adding that during the procedure, no witness was invited to justify the request.
Quadri J. further dismissed another claim by the NNPC that recklessness and speeding on the part of the plaintiff were responsible for the accident.
The judge said the body of evidence from the police side indicated that the crash was caused along with four others by the illegal placement of concrete barriers on the road on the same day.
The judge therefore awarded 5.1 million naira in favor of the Eze for the cost of a damaged vehicle, another 5 million naira in special damages, while 500,000 naira was awarded as litigation costs.
The veteran journalist took the NNPC to court for illegally blocking the highways in its multi-billion Naira towers in Abuja without notifications, road signs or warnings.
The traditional leader in the lawsuit brought on his behalf by his lawyer, Mr. Malachy Nwekpe, had asked the court to compel the NNPC to pay him 50 million naira in damages for causing him a fatal accident. .
In an amended statement, the veteran broadcaster claimed 44million naira as special damages, 5.1million naira for the cost of his damaged car and another 5 million naira as costs to pursue his case against the NNPC.
In the claims, the former FRCN court editor wanted the court to hold the NNPC responsible for the fatal accident resulting from an alleged act of total negligence and failure to follow traffic control.
In his statement, the veteran broadcaster claimed that on April 1, 2012, he drove on the highway past the NNPC towers to his Radio House office without any form of concrete barriers in the road.
He claimed that on his way home from work the same day at around 11 p.m., his Peugeot 406 car registered as DP 41 EKY was involved in a terrible accident caused by the concrete barriers allegedly placed on the road by officials of the NNPC to protect the towers. at the expense of road users without any road signs or warning signs.
The plaintiff claimed that it took the intervention of the fiery Nigerians of the public who took him to the general hospital as the car was damaged beyond repairs by the concrete barriers.
He further argued that all efforts to get NNPC to compensate him for the medical costs incurred and damage to his car had been rejected by the company.
The complainant further claimed that instead, the NNPC wrote to their lawyer claiming that it was federal government security officers who placed the concrete barriers on the road and should be held accountable.
He claimed that shortly after the accident he retired from public service and could not replace his car or cover the cost of further medical treatment for his chest.
Brother Anika therefore urged the Federal High Court to declare that the NNPC was responsible for putting up the concrete barriers without any warning signals to unsuspecting road users.
He also asked the court to declare that the sudden placement of the concrete barriers without relevant signs or warnings was unlawful.
The veteran journalist also asked the court to declare that the NNPC and the federal government, which is a co-defendant in the lawsuit, were vicariously liable for the accident and the resulting injuries and damages to him as a result of the excessive installation of barriers.
He therefore claimed N 5.1 million as the cost of the car, N 44.1 million as special damages and another N 500,000 as the cost of the litigation.