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The last may not have been heard of the suit between the oil and gas associations as a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos adjourned ruling in a preliminary objection to an N100 million suit by Nigerian Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA) against two other groups over the imposition of levies.

Justice Lewis Allagoa fixed July 15 for ruling on the matter, after the parties had adopted their processes before the court.
The respondents in the suit are the Nigeria Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) and the National Association of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

In the suit, the applicant is seeking an order of perpetual injunction against the respondents, restraining them from collecting or extorting with or without coercion, any form of dues, levies, or charges from its members.
The applicant is consequently, claiming the sum of N100million in damages, against the respondents, for the abuse and gross violation of the rights of many of its members.

It argues that since June 2021, its members have been subjected to all forms of intimidation by the respondents, to enforce the collection of levies on all trucks loading at LPG terminals across the country.
The applicant filed the suit Fhc/L/CS/469/2022, through its counsel, Mr Dipo Torhukerhuo, seeking declaratory reliefs against the respondents, over-collection of membership levies, and dues.
The applicant is asking the court to declare that the forceful collection of membership dues or other forms of levies by the respondents is high-handed, unlawful and a violation of the applicant’s rights.

When the case was called on Thursday, Torhukerhuo appeared as an applicant, while Mrs Lolade Animashaun and Femi Aborishade appeared as first and second respondents respectively.

The court heard a preliminary objection by the first respondent challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case, on the grounds that the name of the first respondent is not a juristic person capable of being sued.
Animashaun urged that the name of the first respondent be struck out as the same is a fundamental defect which robs the court of jurisdiction, adding that parties cannot by consent confer jurisdiction on the court.
Counsel to the second respondent also adopted a written address, urging the court to refuse an application for amendment of the name of the applicant.
He argued that the law does not allow the substitution of a juristic person for a non-juristic person, and urged the court to so hold.

In response, the applicant argued that the respondents had acted on the processes as filed in the said name, and cannot now complain that same was not properly brought.

Meanwhile, the applicant’s counsel adopted his originating processes before the court, including his counter-affidavit to the preliminary objections of respondents to the suit.

In addition, the applicant’s counsel also adopted his application to amend his originating processes to reflect the correct name of the first respondent.

But, counsel to the first respondent has adopted her processes, objecting to this move for amendment by applicant.

The first respondent (NALPGAM) avers that the NLPGA is an association of stakeholders in the gas sector and not an umbrella body of traders in LPG.

Source: The Guardian Newspaper

Sulaimon Salau

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