STOAN Urges Members To Ignore NSCs ‘Illegal’ Directive
THE Seaport Terminal Operators Association (STOAN) has said that any directive of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) premised on the December 17, 2014 judgment of the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos, is illegal and should be ignored by members of the public.
In a statement by its lawyer, Femi Atoyebi (SAN), STOAN stressed that “the law in Nigeria is that where there is an appeal against a court decision and a motion for stay of execution/injunction is filed, none of the parties must do anything to frustrate the hearing of the appeal until the application has been heard and determined, one way or the other.”
The statement titled “RE: Nigeria Shippers Council Notice to All Port Users (notice No. NSC/LN-PU/2015/001)” reads in part:
“Our attention has been drawn to the misleading publication by the Nigerian Shipper’ Council (NSC) of Thursday, February 12, 2015 contained on page 68 of The Guardian newspapers, wherein NSC itemised about nine issues purportedly decided in their favour in the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered by Coram I.N. Buba J on December 17, 2014.
“Firstly and for the avoidance of doubt, NSC did not file any counter-claim in the matter relating to our clients, STOAN in SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/1704/2014 and so the court could not have upheld same as claimed in Item Four of the said publication.
“Secondly, the publication deliberately concealed the fact that the said judgment is subject of a pending appeal and that our clients also filed an application for a stay of execution of the judgment/injunction pending the determination of the appeal.
“We have also had cause to write to the NSC when it was apparent that they were making frantic efforts to ride enough shod of the judicial process and threatening our clients to comply with their directives as from 22/12/14. Clearly, this is not illegal but unacceptable and a cloaked attempt to foist upon the Court of Appeal a situation of complete helplessness so that if our clients’ appeal succeeds their lordships’ decision would have been rendered nugatory.”
The statement added: “The law in Nigeria is that where there is an appeal against a court decision and a motion for stay of execution/injunction is filed, none of the parties must do anything to frustrate the hearing of the appeal until the application has been heard and determined, one way or the other.
“It is also trite that both the court from which an appeal lies and the court to which an appeal lies have a duty to preserve the ‘res’ so that the appeal, if successful, is not rendered nugatory. We consider that the NSC lawyers should have advised them appropriately of the correct position of the law and if they did, it would appear that NSC are refusing to follow the advice. We hasten to add that the NSC publication and any further step that may be taken by them in a bid to frustrate the pending appeal and foist on the Court of Appeal a situation of complete helplessness would be highly contemptuous of the court and we would not hesitate to apply the full weight of the law on such persons as nay have authorised the publication.”
STOAN advised its clients and the general public “to ignore the illegal directives or any directive of the NSC premised on the said judgment as they are not bound to follow them until our clients’ pending application and/or appeal has been determined, one way or the other.”