Lagos—A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court yesterday awarded a N100,000 cost against Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Limited in a $12 billion debt recovery suit by the Federal Government over oil shipment.
Mojisola Olatoregun, the judge, awarded the cost after striking out the company’s preliminary objection by the second defendant, Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, challenging the court’s jurisdiction over service of court processes.
According to the judge, the cost should be paid within seven days of the award.
The Federal Government filed the suit against Chevron Nigeria Ltd, and Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, as first and second defendants respectively.
This suit is one among several suits seeking to recover almost $12 billion in missing crude oil revenue from some international oil companies.
The Federal Government was represented by Ituah Imhanze and Chineme Onuoma, while the first and second defendants were represented by Miannaya Essen, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
The defence counsel had challenged the court’s jurisdiction, urging it to set aside purported service of an amended writ of summons and amended statement of claim on the second defendant, for being incompetent.
The counsel had argued that the second defendant was not served with the amended processes in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Delivering its ruling on the objection, the court held that service of originating processes was fundamental to the jurisdiction of the court, adding that such service must be personal except where personal service is not possible.
She held that by the provisions of Order 6 Rule 3, of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, no such service of court processes shall be necessary, where the defendant by his legal practitioner, undertakes in writing to take service.
The court further held that where a party by this means, accepts service, he cannot deny same, adding that from records, it could be recalled that the processes were served.
The court consequently held: “This application is totally and absolutely a waste of time and it is unbelievable”