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FRONTERA PETROLEUM RESOURCES INC v. NIGERIA DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION

(2019) LPELR-47527(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Wednesday, the 15th day of May, 2019

CA/L/405/2012


Before Their Lordships

TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JAMILU YAMMAMA TUKUR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

FRONTERA PETROLEUM RESOURCES INC. - Appellant(s)

AND

NIGERIA DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION
(Liquidator of Gulf Bank of Nigeria PLC) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Limitation Law.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the ruling of the Federal High Court of Lagos State.

The provenance of this appeal is in the commercial transaction between the Appellant and the liquidated Gulf Bank of Nigeria PLC. Flowing from the said transaction, the Appellant, contending that Gulf Bank owed it monies on the said transaction instituted proceedings before the High Court of Lagos State against the Respondent, the Liquidator of Gulf Bank. The Respondent raised an objection to the jurisdiction of the High Court of Lagos State to entertain the action. Consequent upon this objection the Appellant filed a notice discontinuing the action at the High Court of Lagos State.

Thereafter, the Appellant instituted a fresh action before the Federal High Court (hereinafter called the lower Court) in SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/139/2011: FRONTERA PETROLEUM RESOURCES INC. vs. NIGERIA DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (LIQUIDATOR OF GULF BANK OF NIGERIA PLC. Upon being served, the Court processes, the Respondent filed an application challenging the competence of the action upon the ground that the action is statute barred. 

The parties filed and exchanged processes on the application and in its Ruling the Federal High Court held that the action was statute barred and dismissed same.

The Appellant was dissatisfied and appealed against the said Ruling at the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on issues as formulated by the Appellant, as follows:
"1. Was the lower Court right to have had recourse to the period of the pendency of Suit No: LD/1585/07 between the Appellant and the Respondent and in relation to the same cause of action pending before it in the determination of whether the Appellant's suit was statute barred?
2. Was the lower Court right in its decision that there was no negotiation between the Appellant and the Respondent as would warrant the suspension of the running of the limitation period for instituting the action?"

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Court held that the appeal was meritorious and allowed it. The decision of the Federal High Court was set aside and the case was remitted to the Court for expeditious hearing and determination of the action. 


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