BY INNOCENT OROK
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has been awarded to pay damages amounting to over N5.5billion in favour of a firm, Maggpiy Trading TFZE. A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja deliver the judgement on Wednesday against the NCS and the board Chairman, over the unlawful seizure of 90 containers of rice imported.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo upheld the plaintiff’s claim and held that the First stand Second Respondents – NCS and the Chairman,Nigeria Customs Service Board (NCSB) acted unlawfully and without any justification in law.
Justice Ekwo disclosed that Customs Officials also pilfered the plaintiff’s rice while the case was pending and said such conduct by officials of the First and Second Defendant is condemnable.
The judge granted all the reliefs by the Plaintiff and awarded specific and general damages against the First and Second Defendants. The damages is to the tune of N3,805,638,950 and $4,796,550 respectively.
Justice Ekwo also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants from further unlawfully interfering with the lawful business transactions of the Plaintiff within the Tinapa Free Trade Zone in Cross River State.
Maggpiy stated in its suit, marked: FHC/CA/CS/40/2017 that, on March 18, 2017, officials of the NCS invaded and sealed up its warehouse in the Tinapa Free Trade Zone, Calabar, containing about 90 containers of rice stored in air-tight containers. The Plaintiff said, in addition to sealing its warehouse with its content, officials of the NCS stole part of the seized rice and detained its 40 trucks, containing 317 transit containers of rice, destined for the Tinapa Free Trade Zone, without lawful justification for 120 days along Onne, Port-Harcourt road.