A Federal High Court in Abuja has slammed a sum of N10.6 million fine on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over illegal roadblocks.
The fine, the court said, was in favour of one Mr. Geoffrey Anika, a retired Journalist, whose vehicle, Peugeot 406 car was damaged beyond repairs as a result of an alleged unlawful roadblock mounted in front of NNPC corporate headquarters.
The presiding judge, Mr. Babatunde Quadri, in his judgment delivery, in the suit on Monday, agreed with the plaintiff that the NNPC was negligent in blocking the high way without road signs as required by law.
The judge also pointed out that the evidence averred by the plaintiff witnesses against NNPC was not faulted.
The judge further held that the claims of the plaintiff regarding the accident and the documents presented as evidence were not controverted.
Quadri rejected NNPC’s submissions which claimed that the federal government through the national security adviser, was responsible for placing the concrete barriers around its towers without road signs.
The corporation had also told the court that recklessness and over speeding on the part of the plaintiff was responsible for the accident.
But the judge dismissed all their claims noting that throughout the proceedings NNPC failed to call witnesses to substantiate their claim.
The judge added that the evidence from the police was proof to show that the accident was caused along with four others by the unlawful placement of concrete barriers on the road.
Consequently, the judge awarded N5.1 million in favour of the plaintiff, being the cost of the damaged vehicle, another N5 million as special damages, while N500,000 was granted as the cost of litigation.
Recall, that in 2013, Anika took NNPC to court for mounting a roadblock that led to a ghastly motor accident, which led to his Peugeot 406 car damaged beyond repairs.
In Anika’s statement of claim, the plaintiff said he was returning from office at the Radio House on April 1, 2012, when he rammed into concrete barriers on the road in front of the NNPC Towers.
He claimed that it took the intervention of the good spirited Nigerians who rushed him to a hospital while his car was damaged beyond repairs.
He further claimed that all efforts to make NNPC compensate him for the incurred medical expenses and damage to his car were rebuffed by the corporation.