Court restrains Oyo government, firm from meddling with ENL contract
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja has restrained Craneburg Construction Co. Ltd., Oyo State government and two others from meddling with a contract awarded to ENL Consortium Ltd. pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice and the substantive suit.
Justice Enobie Obanor gave the ruling after listening to the plaintiff’s counsel on a motion ex-parte marked FCT/HC/M/8903.
The ex-parte was pursuant to the suit marked FCT /HC/CV/2133/ 2022 in the case of ENL Consortium Ltd. V Craneburg Construction Co. Ltd and four others.
The defendants are Craneburg Construction Company Ltd, Fadi Khalil, Mohammed Abdul, Oyo State Government (OYSG) and Attorney-General of Oyo State.
Plaintiff’s counsel told the court that ENL Consortium Ltd was awarded a Build-Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract to construct the Ibadan outer Ring Road measuring 32 kilometres.
He said the entire project was to be contractor-financed with a time span provided in the contract for the contractor to recoup his expenditure and make appropriate profit.
The counsel said: “In the course of executing the contract with finances sourced by the contractor, there was a change of administration in Oyo State from the Governorship of Chief Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), whose government awarded the contract, to that of governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the latter did not hide the fact that his administration did not want the Plaintiff to conclude and benefit from the contract.
“Consequently, by some contrivances set out in the statement of claim, the Oyo State government purported to revoke the contract and re-award same to Craneburg Construction Co Ltd, an Abuja-based company, despite the fact that the contract was still subsisting and not resolved through the arbitration clause in the contract, which the OYSG is yet to take advantage of.
“For now, the reliefs sought are against the Abuja company that has interfered in the contract between the Plaintiff and the 4th defendant.”
The plaintiff seeks the following reliefs against the defendants jointly and severally:
“A declaration that the Concession Agreement between the Claimant and the OYSG for the construction of 32-Kilometre East End Wing of the 107-Kilometre proposed Ibadan Ring Road (the Ibadan Circular Road), particularly, as described in the contract document dated August 25, 2017 is valid and subsisting between the parties named herein.
“A declaration that the actions of the 1st -3rd defendants in this case demonstrated the intention to injure the business of the Claimant and actually injured the Claimant’s business in the matter of the existing afore-described contract between the Claimant and the 4th defendant by unlawful means of conspiring with OYSG to frustrate and take over the subsisting self-financing Concessionaire of the 32-kilometre East End Wing of the 107-kilometer proposed Ibadan Ring Road (the Ibadan Circular Road) under the terms of the Concession Agreement dated 25th August, 2017 with Oyo State government without waiting for the termination of the contract as prescribed in the said agreement.”
The plaintiff also asked for a declaration that the presence and sudden appearance of the 1st – 3rd defendants and their construction equipment on the site of the project constitute acts of trespass and amounts to a violation of the sanctity of the existing contract between the claimant and the 4th defendant by the 1st -3rd defendants.
The firm, therefore, prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, acting either by themselves or through their servants, agents or any other person(s) connected to them from further interference, disturbance, trespassing, or any other action or conduct in like manner with the business of the Claimant in respect of the project.
It also asked for damages in the sum of N10 billion against the defendants jointly and severally for unlawful interference with the business of the claimant, as well as, for the cost of the legal action. Justice Obanor adjourned till July 15 for hearing of the motion on notice.