The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to pay N10.6million to a victim of an accident resulting from road blockage in front of the corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.
Delivering judgment, the judge, Babatunde Quadri, ruled that NNPC was negligent in blocking the highway with concrete barriers without road signs as required by law.
The judgment was delivered in favour of a traditional ruler, Eze Anika.
Mr Anika alleged in his suit that his Peugeot 406 with registration number DP 41 EKY was damaged beyond repairs in 2012 due to the unlawful blockage.
Concrete barriers were mounted around various major government buildings in Abuja about that time because of heightened Boko Haram attacks in the federal capital.
But Mr Quadri, in his judgment, on Monday, rejected NNPC’s claim that the Federal Government through the National Security Adviser (NSA) was responsible for the mounting of the concrete barriers.
The judge noted that no witnesses “was invited to substantiate the claim” throughout the hearing.
He added that NNPC’s claim that the accident was due to the recklessness and over-speeding by the plaintiff was not substantiated.
He added that documents tendered regarding the accident by the plaintiff to support his claims “were not controverted by the NNPC or its witnesses.”
The judge ruled that “the totality of evidence” from the police indicated that the accident was caused along with four others by the unlawful placement of concrete barriers on the road the same day.
Mr Quadri therefore awarded N5.1 million in favour of the plaintiff as the cost of damaged vehicle, another N5 million as special damages, and N500,000 was granted as the cost of prosecuting the case.