Three contractors handling the Eko Atlantic Project have urged the Federal High Court to dismiss a suit seeking to stop it.
The plaintiff, Mondinvest Limited, is demanding N2billion in general damages for the alleged damage of its property due to the defendants’ activities.
But the defendants, M.V. Breughel (sister vessel to M.V. Congo River), the Master of the M.V. Breughel and Dredging Environmental and Marine Engineering NV, are contending that the plaintiff lacks jurisdiction to file the action.
The plaintiff filed the admiralty case, known as in rem proceedings, for alleged coastline and property damage caused by M.V. Congo River and MV. Breughel currently engaged in dredging operations in the Kuramo Waters in furtherance of the Eko Atlantic project.
Arguing their notice of preliminary objection on Wednesday, the defendants’ lawyer, Ken Okwujiako, urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
“Our position is that the plaintiff, not being owners of the Kuramo Waters coastline, has no basis for demanding damages. The Kuramo Waters belong to the Federal Government. It is our view that the plaintiff has not stated any right it has over Kuramo Waters whatsoever,” he said.
Besides, the lawyer said the defendants are agents of a disclosed party, which had already provided a guarantee in case of any damages.
“We urge your lordship to strike out this suit. At the appropriate time we shall bring an application for cost,” Okwujiako said.
But, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Adedolapo Akinrele (SAN), said his client’s property on the Kuramo Waters was damaged through the dredging.
“It’s clear that the plaintiff has suffered damages and is still suffering damages as a result of the dredging,” he said.