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Court orders NNPC to pay N10.6m to veteran journalist

A Federal High Court in Abuja has awarded the sum of N10.6 million damages against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for unlawfully blocking the highway in front of its Corporate Headquarters in Abuja which led to a ghastly motor accident.

The amount was awarded in favour of a veteran journalist, Eze Geo Anika, whose Peugeot 406 with registration number DP 41 EKY was damaged beyond repairs in 2012 as a result of the unlawful blockade.

Delivering judgment in a suit instituted against the NNPC, Justice Babatunde Quadiri agreed with the plaintiff that the NNPC was negligent in blocking the highway without road signs as required by law.

The Judge held that the evidence of the witnesses that concrete barriers were placed on the highway by the NNPC to avert an attack from Boko Haram terrorists were not faulted.

Justice Quadri further held that the claims of the plaintiff regarding the accident and the documents tendered to support his claims were not controverted by the NNPC or its witnesses.

The Judge rejected the claim of the NNPC that the federal government through the National Security Adviser NSA, was responsible for the placing of the concrete barriers around the NNPC towers without road signs, adding that throughout the proceedings no single witness was invited to substantiate the claim.

Justice Quadri further rejected another claim by the NNPC that recklessness and overspeeding on the part of the plaintiff was responsible for the accident.

The Judge said that the totality of evidence from the side of the police indicated that the accident was caused along with four others by the unlawful placement of concrete barriers on the road the same day.

The Judge, therefore, awarded N5.1 million in favor of the Eze as the cost of the damaged vehicle, another N5 million as special damages while N500,000 was granted as the cost of litigation.

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