LawPavilion Online


Back

THE SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY OF NIGERIA LIMITED v. DODOYE WEST

(2018) LPELR-44290(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Monday, the 30th day of April, 2018

CA/PH/115/2015


Before Their Lordships

ISAIAH OLUFEMI AKEJU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

CORDELIA IFEOMA JOMBO-OFO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

BITRUS GYARAZAMA SANGA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

THE SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY OF NIGERIA LIMITED - Appellant(s)

AND

DODOYE WEST - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Limitation of Action.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Rivers State High Court.

By an endorsed Writ of Summons and a Statement of Claim, the Respondent claimed the following reliefs from the Appellant:
"1. The sum of N1,104,000:00 (One Million, One Hundred and Four Thousand Naira) only being special damages for the damage of the Plaintiff's "3" bundles of fishing nets consequent upon the Defendant's massive Crude Oil Spill of (sic) on or about 20th July, 2006 (also known as "28" NCTL CRUDE OIL SPILL) in Rivers State of Nigeria.
2. Post judgment interest of 10% per annum on the judgment sum from the date of judgment until full payment of the judgment sum by the Defendant."

The Defendant filed a 24 paragraphs Statement of Defence. On 17th September, 2014 the Defendant/Appellant filed a Motion on Notice seeking the following reliefs:
???1. An Order that claims based on the Oil Pipelines Act are subject to statutory limitation by either Federal and/or State Law.
2. An Order dismissing or striking out the Plaintiff's suit in its entirety for being statute barred.

The grounds upon which the reliefs were sought are:
1. Respondent's cause of action arose since the 20th of July 2006.
2. By Section 16 of the Limitation Law of Rivers State, Cap 80, 1999, no action founded on tort shall be brought after the expiration of five years from the date which the cause of action accrued.
3. Also by Section 3 of the Statute of Limitation 1623, no action founded on tort must be brought after the expiration of six years from the date of accrual of cause of action.
4. Section 32 of the Interpretation Act, CAP, 123 LFN, 2004, made the Statute of Limitation 1623, a statute of general application applicable in Nigeria.
5. The respondent's suit was filed on 28th August, 2013, 7 years and 39 days outside the 5 years/6 years statutory limitation periods respectively provided by the two Limitation Statutes applicable to the case.

A 21-paragraph affidavit and a written address accompanied the application. The Plaintiff/Respondent filed a "Written address on points of law opposing the Defendant's/Applicant's Preliminary Objection". The application was heard and the trial Court dismissed it. Dissatisfied, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The sole issue for determination in the appeal is:
"Whether the trial Judge was right when he held that the Rivers State Limitation Law does not apply to the Respondent's right of action for being created by a Federal Act Oil Pipelines Act and as such failed to uphold the Appellant's Preliminary Objection that the action is statute barred."

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the appeal was allowed and the matter instituted by the respondent at the trial Court was struck out for being statute barred.



Read Full Judgment