Nigeria


In summary

Despite the disruption of commercial and judicial activities that resulted from the covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was still marked by some notable decisions of Nigerian courts in respect of arbitration. While some of the decisions handed down by the Nigerian courts, notably the Court of Appeal in 2020, demonstrate yet again that Nigerian courts will not set aside an award on frivolous grounds, some of them are not entirely satisfactory and have raised issues of concern.


Discussion points

  • Applicability of the limitation period for the enforcement of foreign judgments prescribed in the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Ordinance 1958 to arbitral awards.
  • Applicability of the English Arbitration Act to the enforcement of arbitral awards in Nigeria.
  • What constitutes taking steps in proceedings commenced in breach of arbitration agreement.
  • Importance of serving a notice of an arbitration on the responding party.
  • The risks of an arbitral tribunal continuing proceedings and issuing an award while its jurisdiction is being challenged in court.
  • Need to serve notice of hearings and proceedings to an abstaining party.
  • Settlement, negotiation and payment of settlement sum while abstaining from proceedings.

Referenced in this article

  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Chapter A18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
  • Article 3 of the Arbitration Rules, First Schedule to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Chapter A18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
  • Emerald Energy Resources Limited v Signet Advisors Limited (No. 1) and Emerald Energy Resources Limited v Signet Advisors Limited (No. 2)
  • Indorama Eleme Pet Ltd v Cutra Intl Limited (2020)
  • Section 2 of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Ordinance Cap. 175, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1958
  • Section 66 of the Arbitration Act of England
  • Section 5 (4) (a) of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act
  • The Vessel MT Sea Tiger v ASM (HK) Ltd (2020) 14 NWLR (Part 1745) 418

Limitation period for seeking the enforcement of an arbitral award

Emerald Energy Resources Limited v Signet Advisors Limited (No. 1)[1]

In this case, the respondent, Signet Advisors Ltd (the respondent or Signet) brought an application at the Federal High Court of Nigeria (FHC) under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA)[2] for the recognition and enforcement of a London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) arbitral award that was rendered by an eminent panel of arbitrators. The appellant, Emerald Energy Resources Ltd (Emerald or the appellant) filed a preliminary objection seeking the dismissal of the application on the grounds, among others, that Signet’s right to seek enforcement of the arbitral award had become statute barred, given that the application was not brought within a period of 12 months from the making of the award pursuant to the provisions of the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Ordinance Cap. 175 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1958 (the 1958 Ordinance). According to Emerald, Signet’s recognition and enforcement application was statute barred because it was filed more than 12 months after the award was made. The preliminary objection was dismissed.

Emerald’s appeal to the Court of Appeal turned on the question of whether the arbitral award ought to have been registered for enforcement in Nigeria within a period of 12 months under the 1958 Ordinance as contended by Emerald.

Signet contended that its application for the enforcement of the award was not statute-barred because the 12 month limitation period prescribed under the 1958 Ordinance for the enforcement of English judgments in Nigeria does not apply to arbitral awards; and that its recognition and enforcement application was brought under the ACA, which does not prescribe a limitation period for the enforcement of arbitral awards.

In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal held that: Signet’s recognition and enforcement application was not statute-barred because section 2 of the 1958 Ordinance that Emerald relied on in its contention applies to the enforcement of judgments of the English courts and not arbitral awards; for the limitation period prescribed under section 2 of the 1958 Ordinance to apply to an award, such an award must have become enforceable in the same manner as a judgment of a High Court in England; and the ACA is the relevant law to consider in order to determine whether an application to enforce an arbitral award is statute-barred and the ACA does not prescribe a limitation period for the enforcement of arbitral awards.

Comments

We hold the view that the decision of the Court of Appeal to the effect that the 12-month limitation period prescribed under the 1958 Ordinance does not apply to an arbitral award is correct. Emerald’s contention that Signet’s recognition and enforcement application was statute-barred was misconceived and baseless. As rightly observed by the Court of Appeal, though an arbitral award has the binding force of a judgment, is final and conclusive and operates as a judgment, it is not a judgment in the strict sense as to subject it to the enforcement regime of the 1958 Ordinance, particularly section 2 thereof. Section 2 of the 1958 Ordinance would have applied if after obtaining the award in England, Signet obtained an order in England to enforce the arbitral award in the same manner as a judgment of the English High Court. In that case, the award would have been elevated to the status of an English High Court judgment, which was not the case here.

It is to be noted, however, that while it is correct that the ACA does not provide for a limitation period for the enforcement of an arbitral award in Nigeria, that is not the end of the matter. This is because the Limitation Laws of the various states in Nigeria provide that the Limitation Law shall apply to arbitration as they apply to court actions. For instance, the Limitation Law of Lagos State[3] provides in section 62 thereof that ‘this Law and any other Limitation enactment shall apply to arbitration as they apply to actions in the court’.[4] While there is no question that an arbitration claim must be commenced within the time limit provided in each applicable Limitation Law, namely five or six years, depending on the applicable Limitation Law, the crucial question is, when does time begin to run for the purposes of an application to enforce an arbitral award? Is it from the date of the initial breach of the underlying contract or from the date of publication of the award?

The Supreme Court of Nigeria was confronted with this question in the case of Murmansk State Steamship Line v Kano State Oil Millers Ltd.[5] In its decision, the Court held that the limitation period for the enforcement of an arbitral award begins to run from the date the cause of action accrued and not the date when the award was issued and that the statutory limitation period[6] for the enforcement of the award began to run in 1964 when the underlying agreement between the parties was breached and not from the making of the award in 1966. The Supreme Court restated its position on this point in the case of City Engineering (Nig) Ltd v Federal Housing Authority.[7]

Although the issue was not raised in the Emerald case under review, it is important to note that while the ACA does not prescribe a limitation period for the enforcement of an arbitral award, the limitation period will be determined by reference to the relevant limitation statute in Nigeria.

Supportive attitude of Nigerian courts to arbitration

Emerald Energy Resources Limited v Signet Advisors Limited (No. 2)[8]

This is a related case to Emerald Energy Resources Limited v Signet Advisors Limited (No. 1) and arose from same arbitral award. Signet had filed an application in the FHC for the recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award under section 51 of the ACA, while Emerald resisted the application pursuant to section 52 of the ACA. The grounds upon which Emerald resisted the application were: incapacity on the basis that it (Emerald) was an agent of a known and disclosed principal and that it was the principal that ought to have been sued in the arbitration; that the tribunal exceeded its jurisdiction and decided matters outside the scope of the parties’ submissions; and that the award creditor failed to comply with the condition precedent to the enforcement of the award as prescribed under the English Arbitration Act 1996. The FHC after considering the position of each party, granted Signet’s application for leave to enforce the award in the same manner as a judgment or order of the Court. Emerald was dissatisfied with the decision and lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on all the grounds. On Emerald’s argument that it was under a known and disclosed incapacity so as to come under section 52(2)(a)(i) of the ACA, which provides that recognition and enforcement of an award will be refused if one of the parties to the arbitration agreement was under some incapacity, the court rejected Emerald’s argument that it was an agent of a known and disclosed principal. The Court of Appeal found as a fact that from the records, the parties to all the underlying agreements that gave rise to the dispute that was submitted to arbitration were Emerald and Signet and no other party, that Emerald neither established the existence of any agency relationship with any principal nor even disclosed the name of the so-called principal. The Court wondered how Signet could be expected to have joined unknown parties to the arbitration.

The court also considered Emerald’s contention that the award should be set aside because the arbitral tribunal dealt with a matter outside what was submitted to it and found no merit in that argument and rejected same.

On Emerald’s contention that the award should not be enforced in Nigeria because the award did not comply with section 66 of the English Arbitration Act 1966, which makes provision for how an arbitral award can be enforced in England, the Court of Appeal also rejected this argument and held that it is the ACA that regulates arbitration proceedings, including the enforcement of awards in Nigeria, and not the English Arbitration Act, which does not apply in Nigeria.

In its final comments, the Court restated the attitude of Nigerian courts towards arbitral awards, which is to uphold and give effect to them unless in deserving situations. According to the Court, arbitral awards whether domestic or international should not be treated with levity. The Court further held that parties who have submitted their dispute to arbitration should be made to accept the arbitral award resulting therefrom and that except in truly deserving circumstances, arbitral awards should not be set aside or denied recognition in Nigeria.

Comments

The attempts made by Emerald in this case to discredit the award in this matter on baseless grounds show the lengths to which some disgruntled award debtors can go to frustrate an arbitral award that resulted from arbitration proceedings that they willingly submitted to and participated in. However, it is reassuring that the Court of Appeal held that the award cannot be set aside unless the conditions prescribed under the ACA are met.

The importance of effecting service of notice of arbitration on the responding party, as well as ensuring that an abstaining party continues to be notified about hearing dates

Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Ltd v Cutra Intl Limited[9]

In this case, Cutra Intl Limited (the respondent or CIL), submitted a dispute arising from a consultancy agreement with the appellant, Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Ltd (the appellant or Indorama) to arbitration under the ACA as provided for in the arbitration agreement contained in the consultancy agreement. The respondent did not, however, serve the notice of arbitration on the appellant as mandated under the ACA. Indorama, therefore, challenged the jurisdiction of the sole arbitrator to determine the matter.

The arbitrator delivered a ruling on the challenge to its jurisdiction arising from the non-service of the notice of the arbitration on Indorama and took the position that it had jurisdiction. The basis of the tribunal’s decision was that the intendment of section 17 of the ACA was to make the provisions of the ACA operational only if the parties did not have a contrary understanding and the parties might have decided to dispense with giving a formal notice, hence, it was not included as a necessary step in clause 6 of the Consultancy Agreement.

Indorama filed an application in court against both the sole arbitrator and the respondent seeking a declaration that the condition precedent to the commencement of the arbitral proceedings (service of a notice of arbitration) had not been complied with; an order setting aside the ruling of the arbitrator; and an order removing the arbitrator. Indorama also filed a motion for stay of the arbitral proceedings pending the determination of the suit filed against both the arbitrator and the respondent. The court processes were duly served on the arbitrator and CIL. Subsequently, Indorama notified the arbitrator by email that it would no longer participate in the arbitral proceedings given the relief it was seeking in the court proceedings.

It would appear from the judgment that either before or after the tribunal’s decision on jurisdiction, Indorama took further steps in the proceedings by filing a crossclaim, paying its own share of the deposit towards the costs of the arbitration and also vigorously cross examining CIL’s witness.

Despite the proceedings commenced by Indorama, the tribunal continued proceedings in the arbitration, and during the proceedings of 15 November 2016, the arbitral tribunal foreclosed Indorama’s right to call witness(es) or tender additional documents, closed the trial phase of the arbitration and gave directions as to the timelines for the filing of post-hearing submissions and publication of the final award by the tribunal. Upon the publication of the final award on 20 December 2016, Indorama filed an application in the High Court to set aside the award, which was denied, and which decision was subsequently challenged at the Court of Appeal.

At the Court of Appeal, Indorama argued that the arbitral tribunal misconducted itself in assuming jurisdiction despite the fact that it (Indorama) was not served with the notice of arbitration; that the arbitral tribunal misconducted itself by conducting further proceedings and rendering a final award despite being served with Indorama’s proceedings seeking, among other reliefs, a declaration that the condition precedent to the commencement of the arbitral proceedings, that is, service of a notice of arbitration, had not been complied with, an order setting aside the decision of the arbitrator on jurisdiction and removal of the arbitrator. Indorama further contended that the arbitral tribunal misconducted itself by failing to give notice to Indorama of the proceedings conducted from 9th November 2016 until 20th December 2016 when the award was published.

On the issue of jurisdiction, CIL argued that Indorama had waived its rights and submitted to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal by filing a crossclaim, paying its own share of the deposit of the costs of the arbitration, and vigorously cross examining its witness.

In its decision, the Court of Appeal held that:

  • The arbitral tribunal misconducted itself when it conducted the arbitral proceedings between the appellant and the respondent without the fulfillment of the condition precedent to the commencement of the arbitration, which was the service of the notice of arbitration on Indorama.
  • The arbitrator’s failure to defer to the court on the issue of jurisdiction and competence and failure to ensure that the appellant was served with hearing notices regarding the proceedings from 9 November 2016 through to 20 December 2016 was an act of misconduct that vitiated the arbitral award.
  • Even if the appellant had notified the arbitrator that it would no longer participate in the arbitral proceedings, the law still required that it be notified of the hearing schedules, particularly as the tribunal had, in setting the timetable for the filing of post-hearing submissions, indicated a timeframe for Indorama to file its own post-hearing submissions.
  • The arbitrator and CIL being aware of the suit against them before the High Court were obliged to respect the court and that when there is an ongoing litigation, none of the parties to the litigation must do anything to foist a fait accompli on the court.
  • Due process and caution demanded that when one of the parties to an arbitral proceeding challenges the jurisdiction of the arbitrator, as well as the competence of the arbitral proceeding before a competent court, the parties must defer to the court.
  • It was unconscionable for the arbitrator to ignore the proceedings of the High Court and continue the arbitral proceeding.

Comments

In our view, service of a notice of arbitration on the responding party is a very important step in the commencement of arbitration proceedings. In fact, it is a condition precedent. Where a notice of arbitration was not served on the responding party, the tribunal would lack jurisdiction. It would appear that the arbitral tribunal misconceived the import of section 17 of the ACA and assumed that the effect of the parties not stating in the arbitration agreement that notice of arbitration was to be served meant that they did not intend that service of the notice of arbitration be effected. On the contrary, however, Section 12 of the ACA, provides that unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral proceedings in respect of a particular dispute shall be deemed to commence on the date the request to refer the dispute to arbitration is received by the responding party. Similarly, article 3 of the Arbitration Rules under the ACA states that the party initiating recourse to arbitration shall give to the other party a notice of arbitration and that the arbitral proceedings shall be deemed to commence on the date on which the notice is received by the responding party. It follows therefore that it takes service on the responding party with a notice of arbitration to commence an arbitration. There was nothing to show that the parties agreed to dispense with the service of arbitration agreement on each other. So, in principle, the Court of Appeal was right that the failure to serve the notice of arbitration on the responding party would affect the tribunal’s jurisdiction. However, we find the Court’s decision on the issue of waiver to be surprising. The Court’s decision on this point was based on its finding that Indorama promptly challenged the arbitral tribunal’s decision on jurisdiction in court. We note, however, that CIL contended that Indorama had waived its jurisdictional complaints by filing a cross claim, attending, and participating in the proceedings, paying its own share of deposit of the costs of the arbitration and vigorously cross-examining CIL’s witness(es). There was no finding by the Court that Indorama did not take those steps. It is unclear why the Court failed to consider whether those specific steps meant that Indorama had waived its jurisdictional complaints, which would be the case if they actually took the alleged steps.

Even more concerning is the Court’s decision that the continuation and conclusion of the arbitral proceedings by the tribunal after being served with Indorama’s proceedings amounted to misconduct. Firstly, this decision would be used and abused by parties who are bent on frustrating arbitration proceedings to emasculate arbitral tribunals. If an arbitral tribunal is required to stay proceedings once its jurisdiction is being challenged in court, then all it takes for a disgruntled party to derail the proceedings is to raise jurisdictional objections whether on genuine or fanciful grounds, and if the objection is dismissed apply to the court to set aside the tribunal’s decision, as well as stay further proceedings by the tribunal.

Second, while a party may apply to the court to set aside an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdictional decision, there is nothing in the ACA that suggests that the arbitral tribunal should stay proceedings to await the court’s decision on a challenge to its jurisdiction. What is more. The Court of Appeal had decided on the basis of section 34 of the ACA that Nigerian courts have no jurisdiction to restrain an arbitral tribunal from conducting proceedings while its jurisdiction is being challenged in court.[10] It follows that if the court lacks the jurisdiction to ultimately injunct an arbitral tribunal from conducting proceedings, the continuation of the arbitral proceedings, as well as publication of the award while Idorama’s challenge to the tribunal’s jurisdiction in the court was pending could not amount to misconduct. Unfortunately, neither section 34 of the ACA nor the Court of Appeal’s earlier decisions on same were discussed in the Indorama case. It is hoped that the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to review this decision.

Finally, arbitral tribunals faced with a situation where one of the parties decides not to participate any further in the proceedings would do well to note the Court’s decision that failure to serve hearing notice on that party even after it has expressly communicated its decision to withdraw from the proceedings would amount to a breach of fair hearing, which would in turn invalidate the award. It is therefore a matter of due process to ensure that the abstaining party is duly notified of the dates of hearings as well as served with every correspondence and documents exchanged between the arbitral tribunal and the participating party.

Taking steps in proceedings commenced in breach of an arbitration agreement

The Vessel MT Sea Tiger v ASM (HK) Ltd[11]

In this case, the seconnd appellant, Sea Tigers Tankers SA (STTS) and Accord Ship Management (HK) Ltd (ASM), entered into a ship management agreement (SMA) for the management of MT Sea Tiger, the first appellant. By Clauses 23 and 25 of the SMA, it was provided that any dispute arising from or in respect of the agreement would be referred to international arbitration in London.

However, when a dispute arose as to the payment of the management fees between the parties, ASM filed an action in the FHC for the arrest of MT. Sea Tiger (the Ship Arrest Action). The parties of record in the Ship Arrest Action were the vessel MT Sea Tigers and the owners of the Vessel MT Sea Tigers. Although STTS were the owners of the vessel, they were not sued by their name. ASM also gave an indemnity as to damages. STTS did not enter a formal appearance in the proceedings and did not file a defence to the claim. Subsequently, the parties entered into a settlement agreement as a result of which the action was discontinued on 27 February 2014 by ASM and the vessel was ordered to be released. During the court proceedings of 27 February 2014, ASM’s counsel informed the court that the parties had settled the matter, which was confirmed by the counsel who represented the vessel and its owners.

Subsequently, Sea Tiger and STTS filed an action at the FHC against ASM claiming damages caused by the wrongful arrest of MT. Sea Tiger from 31 December 2013 to 27 February 2014 in violation of the arbitration clause contained in the SMA.

The claim was dismissed by the trial court on the grounds that both MT Sea Tiger and STTS submitted to the jurisdiction of the FHC in the Ship Arrest Action by the payment and settlement of the claim to secure the release of the vessel MT Sea Tiger from the arrest and detention it was placed under. The court further held that STTS, as owners of MT Sea Tiger, was a party in the Ship Arrest Action even though it was described as the owners of the vessel MT Sea Tiger rather than by its corporate name, Sea Tiger Tankers SA. STTS was dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial court and appealed same to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial court. The Court of Appeal held that STTS was a party to the Ship Arrest Action and that it took steps in the proceedings by settling ASM’s claim and thereby waived its right to rely on the arbitration agreement contained in the SMA. The Court held that STTS as the beneficial owner of the vessel was a party to the Ship Arrest Action by virtue of the provisions of section 5(4)(a) of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act (AJA), even though not specifically described by its name in the initiating court documents.

On the question of whether STTS took steps in the Ship Arrest Action, the Court of Appeal held that even though STTS did not enter a formal appearance in the Ship Arrest Action, STTS had participated in the proceedings by paying the negotiated sum of US$112,000 to ASM to secure the release of vessel MT Sea Tiger. The Court also held that STTS’s failure or refusal to appear in the action to enable it to challenge the jurisdiction of the lower court on the grounds of the arbitration clauses in the SMA as well as the payment of the settlement sum meant that STTS had submitted to the jurisdiction of the court and took steps in the proceedings and thereby waived its right to insist on the arbitration clause under the SMA.

Comments

Section 5 of the ACA provides that if any party to an arbitration agreement commences any action in court with respect to any matter that is the subject of an arbitration agreement, any party to the arbitration agreement may, at any time after appearance and before delivering any pleadings or taking any other steps in the proceedings, apply to the court to stay the proceedings. Although what constitutes taking steps in proceedings commenced in breach of an arbitration agreement depends on the ambient facts and circumstances of each case, a review of judicial authorities in this regard by Nigerian courts shows that taking steps in proceedings would involve some positive act or conduct on the part of the defendant to the action. For instance, it has been held that a party who makes any application whatsoever to the court, even though it be merely an application for extension of time would be deemed to have taken steps in the proceedings.[12] Filing of an affidavit in opposition to summons for summary judgment, service of a defence, filing an application to the court for leave to serve defence or for an order for discovery or for an order for further and better particulars have been held to amount to taking steps in proceedings that were commenced in breach of arbitration agreements.

We therefore find it strange that the Court of Appeal held in this case that the payment of settlement sum coupled with the failure or refusal on the part of STTS to enter appearance in the matter for purposes of applying for stay of proceedings amounted to taking steps in the proceedings or submission to jurisdiction.

Even though STTS did not enter a formal appearance in the Ship Arrest Action and was not represented by counsel in the proceedings conducted in the matter, a counsel however attended court on its behalf on 27 February 2014, being the date the action was withdrawn. In the course of the proceedings, the counsel for ASM informed the court that the parties had settled the matter, ASM had filed a notice of discontinuance of the action, as well as consent to release the vessel. He therefore applied to discontinue the action and release the vessel. Thereafter, the counsel who represented the defendants in the matter (the vessel and STTS) confirmed the position as stated by ASM’s counsel.

While the appearance of a counsel on behalf of the defendants on that date and his participation in the proceedings as aforesaid arguably amounted to taking steps in the proceedings, we are unable to agree with the Court of Appeal that settlement negotiations and payment of the settlement sum to procure the release of the vessel amounted to submission to jurisdiction and taking steps in the proceedings.

Where an admiralty claim is commenced in breach of an arbitration agreement leading to the arrest and detention of a vessel, it is always commercially sensible for the vessel owners to enter into negotiations with the claimants with a view to securing the release of the detained vessel to mitigate their damages. To the extent that the vessel owners have not entered appearance or taken any positive steps in the proceedings, such settlement negotiations, including payment of the agreed settlement sum, should not, in our view, amount to taking steps in the proceedings or submission to jurisdiction.

That being said, the case illustrates the need for vessel owners who wish to negotiate the release of a detained vessel in the context of proceedings commenced in breach of an arbitration agreement to ensure that their actions are carefully calibrated in order to avoid taking any steps that could be considered as submission to jurisdiction or steps in the proceedings. The settlement negotiations should expressly be stated to be without prejudice to their rights under the relevant agreements. If the vessel owners intend to sue the claimants for breach of the arbitration agreement, they should also consider whether it would be tactically necessary to be represented in court by a lawyer on the date the action is to be withdrawn after they have paid the agreed settlement sum or whether to send a lawyer to observe but not participate in the proceedings to ensure that the action is discontinued as agreed.


Notes

[1] Unreported decision of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Judicial Division, in Appeal No. CA/L/932/2018 delivered on 13 November 2020

[2] Chapter A18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004

[3] Chapter L84 Laws of Lagos State 2015

[4] See also for instance section 61 of the Limitation Act Chapter 522 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, which provides that ‘This Act and any other limitation enactment shall apply to arbitration as they apply to actions in the court.’ See for similar provisions, section 34 of the Limitation Law Chapter L14 Laws of Cross River State and section 34 of the Limitation Law of Akwa Ibom State (Cap. 78) Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000. For an in-depth discussion of the question of limitation periods applicable to award enforcement, see the Nigerian chapter of the Middle Eastern and African Arbitration Review 2016 contributed by Uzoma Azikiwe and Festus Onyia and accessible at this link https://globalarbitrationreview.com/review/the-middle-eastern-and-african-arbitration-review/2016/article/nigeria.

[5] 1974-75 NSCC 590.

[6] In this case it was the English Statute of Limitation 1623. which requires that a civil action must be commenced within a period of six years of the cause of action.

[7] (1997) 9 NWLR (Pt.520) at 224. See also Tulip (Nig.) Ltd v N.T.M.S.AS. (2011) 4 N.W.L.R (Pt.1237) 254.

[8] Unreported decision of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Judicial Division in Appeal No. CA/L/1330/2018 delivered on 13 November 2020.

[9] (2020) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1735) 302

[10] Statoil (Nigeria) Ltd & Anor v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation & 2 Others (2014) N.W.L.R. ((Pt. 1373)1 and Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation & Anor, Unreported decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division in Appeal No. CA/A/628/2011 delivered on 25th February 2014.

[11] (2020) 14 NWLR (Part 1745) 418

[12] Obembe v Wemabod Estates Ltd (1977) 5 SC, 115.

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