On the 5th of March 2021, the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Lagos Division, delivered a landmark judgment in the case of MT Sam Purpose (Ex MT. Tapti) & Anor v Amarjeet Singh Bains & 6 Ors ("MT Sam Purpose v Amarjeet Singh Bains").1 The appeal arose from the ruling of the Federal High Court ("FHC"), Lagos Division delivered on 22nd May, 2020.2 In resolving the primary issue before the Court of Appeal, that is, which Court between the Federal High Court ("FHC") and the National Industrial Court ("NIC") has exclusive jurisdiction over maritime labour claims, the Court of Appeal relied on the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) ("Constitution"), the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act ("AJA"), the Merchant Shipping Act ("MSA"), the Labour Act and judicial precedence to hold that the NIC is the Court vested with exclusive jurisdiction to entertain maritime labour claims bordering on the wages of crew members and or seamen.
This decision has generated a lot of controversies and heated debates among labour and maritime practitioners and has brought to the front burner the need for a re-examination of the jurisdictional scope of the above-named Courts in the light of constitutional provisions, particularly as it relates to maritime labour claims.
Before delving into the facts of MT Sam Purpose v Amarjeet Singh Bains and a review of the judgment, it is important to briefly discuss jurisdiction in maritime labour claims.
JURISDICTION IN MARITIME LABOUR CLAIMS
The relevant laws here are the Constitution, the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act and the Merchant Shipping Act. Section 2 of the AJA defines maritime claims to include, "a reference to a proprietary maritime claim or a general maritime claim".3 This means that maritime claims are broadly classified into two: proprietary maritime claims and general maritime claims.4 Proprietary maritime claims are claims which directly affect the res or subject matter. They include claims relating to:
a. The possession of a ship;
b. Title to or ownership of a ship or of a share in the ship;
c. Mortgage of a ship or of any share therein;
d. Mortgage of a ship's freight;
e. The possession, ownership, operation or earning of a ship between co-owners of a ship.
f. Satisfaction or enforcement of a judgment given by the Court or any court (including a court of a foreign country) against a ship or other property in an admiralty proceeding in rem;
g. Interest in respect of any claim above mentioned.
Section 2(3) of the Act describes the claims which fall under general maritime claims. The claim relevant to this article is contained in Section 2(3)(r) which states thus:
A reference in this Act to a general maritime claim is a reference to –
(r) a claim by a master, or a member of the crew, of a ship for-
(i) wages; or
(ii) an amount that a person, as employer, is under an obligation to pay a person as employee, whether the obligation arose out of the contract of employment or by operation of law, including by operation of the law of a foreign country;
General maritime claims, unlike proprietary maritime claims, do not directly affect the res or subject matter, but arise out of the operation of the res or any agreement relating to or connected with the res.
Furthermore, there are certain claims which attach to the ship (res) even where the ownership changes. These claims are known as liens. A maritime lien attaches to the ship or res. Section 5(3) of the Act provides that a maritime lien means a lien for-
a. Salvage; or
b. Damage done by a ship; or
c. Wages of the master or of a member of the crew of the ship;5 or
d. Master's disbursements.6
Once there is a claim for an enforcement of a maritime lien, such gives rise to an action in rem against the Ship. An action in rem is an action that can lie against the Ship, Cargo or Freight.
Before the recent decision of the Court of Appeal, maritime claims were generally under the exclusive jurisdiction of the FHC as provided by the Constitution and such claims are enforceable by an admiralty action in rem or in personam.7 Section 251(1)(g) of the Constitution provides as follows:
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Constitution and in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly, the Federal High Court shall have and exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other Court in civil causes and matters -
(g) any admiralty jurisdiction, including shipping and navigation on the River Niger or River Benue and their affluents and on such other inland waterway as may be designated by any enactment to be an international waterway, all Federal Ports, (including the constitution and powers of the Ports Authorities for Federal Ports) and carriage by sea;
The exclusive admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear and determine maritime claims was further supported by the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act and the Federal High Court Act 1973. Section 1 of the AJA makes reference to the extent of the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court and Section 25(1) provides that "Court" as used in the Act, unless otherwise stated means the Federal High Court. Also, Section 7(1)(g) of the Federal High Court Act 1973 provides that:
The Court shall to the exclusion of any other court have original jurisdiction to try civil causes and matters connected with or pertaining to –
(g) any admiralty matter, including shipping and navigation on the River Niger or River Benue and their affluents and on such other inland waterways as may be designated by any enactment to be an International Waterway, all Federal Ports, including the constitution and powers of the Ports authorities for Federal ports and carriage by sea;
Section 8(1) of the Federal High Court Act 1973 provides that:
In so far as jurisdiction is conferred upon the Court in respect of the causes or matters mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Act, the High Court or any other Court of a State or of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall, to the extent that jurisdiction is so conferred upon the Court, cease to have jurisdiction in relation to such causes or matters.
Following the enactment of the Third Alteration Act of the 1999 Constitution, the status of the NIC was elevated to that of a superior Court. The NIC is a special Court, dealing with specific subject matters that are exclusive to it. Section 254C(1) of the Constitution conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the NIC over all labour-related matters. Particularly, Section 254C(1)(a) and (k) of the Constitution provides that:
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 251, 257, 272 and anything contained in this Constitution and in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly, the National Industrial Court shall have and exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other court in civil causes and matters-
(a) relating to or connected with any labour, employment, trade unions, industrial relations and matters arising from workplace, the conditions of service, including health, safety, welfare of labour, employee, worker and matters incidental thereto or connected therewith;
(k) relating to or connected with disputes arising from payment or non-payment of salaries, wages, pensions, gratuities, allowances, benefits and any other entitlement of any employee, worker, political or public office holder, judicial officer or any civil or public servant in any part of the Federation and matters incidental to.
Based on the above constitutional provision, the Court of Appeal in MT Sam Purpose v Amarjeet Singh Bain held that jurisdiction over maritime labour claims is exclusive to the NIC. Consequently, the FHC has no jurisdiction over such claims
FACTS OF THE CASE OF MT SAM PURPOSE V AMARJEET SINGH BAIN
The Respondents as Plaintiffs at the Federal High Court, in an action in rem, sought several reliefs against the Defendants/Appellants bordering inter alia on crew wages, cost of admiralty Marshall expenses, cost of arrest and detention of vessel, general damages and pre-judgment interest sum. As is customary in admiralty actions, the Plaintiffs/Respondents accompanied the originating process with an ex-parte application seeking among others the arrest and detention of the vessel, MT Sam Purpose, pending the provision of a satisfactory bank guarantee to secure the Respondents' claim. The application for the arrest of the vessel was granted by the Court. The Defendants/Appellants subsequently entered a conditional appearance challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the matter, relying on Section 254C(1)(a) and (k) of the Constitution and applied to discharge the order of arrest of vessel and to strike out the suit for want of jurisdiction. The Trial Court dismissed the Appellant's application, leading to an interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeal.
The primary issue for determination at the appellate Court, as formulated by the Appellant's counsel was whether the trial court was right when it dismissed the Appellant's application challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to try the suit in the light of Section 254C(1)(a) and (k) of the Constitution.
JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL: THE POSITION OF THE LAW
Before delving into the judgment of the Court of Appeal, it is important to highlight the arguments canvassed by the counsel of the parties.
The Appellant's counsel highlighted the failure of the trial Court to consider the provisions of Section 254C(1) of the Constitution against the backdrop of the claim of the Respondents alongside the Court's misapplication of Section 254C(1)(b) of the Constitution and Section 91 of the Labour Act to oust the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court. Section 91 of the Labour Act provides that:
"worker" means any person who has entered into or works under a contract with an employer, whether the contract is for manual labour or clerical work or is expressed or implied or oral or written, and whether it is a contract of service or a contract personally to execute any work or labour, but does not include---
(f) any person employed in a vessel or aircraft to which the laws regulating merchant shipping or civil aviation apply;
It is a general principle of law that the primary determining factor of jurisdiction is the plaintiff's claim. Therefore, before the FHC can assume jurisdiction in any action before it, the subject matter of the action must be within the ones envisaged and contemplated by the provisions of Section 251(1) (a) – (s) of the Constitution, and where a claim falls outside these provisions, the Court lacks jurisdiction. Counsel for the Appellant rightly drew the attention of the appellate Court to the primary relief being sought by the Respondents which is predicated on employment disputes arising from an alleged breach of terms of a contract of employment relating to payment of wages in the course of an employer-employee relationship. Therefore, Section 91 of the Labour Act, as applied by the trial Court has no bearing with the claim of the Respondent. The implication of this is that the reliance by the trial court on the interpretation of the term, "workers" in delivering its ruling was irrelevant to the determination of the appellant's application. In support of this, in Federal Government of Nigeria v Oshiomole,8 the Supreme Court held:
It is the claim before the Court, particularly the reliefs being sought by the Plaintiff that determines the Jurisdiction of the Court. Thus, in determining whether or not the Court has Jurisdiction over the subject matter before it, the materials to consider are the Statement of Claim, the Writ of Summons and the particulars of claim where they are filed along with the Writ of Summons
Furthermore, the Appellant's claim naturally falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the NIC as established by statute and case law.9 In the brief of arguments of the Appellant, it was further argued that the admiralty jurisdiction of the trial Court as provided for under Section 251(1)(g) of the Constitution, Section 2(3)(r) of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act and Section 66 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007 is subject to Section 254C of the Constitution and the supremacy of the Constitution rules as set out in Section 1(3) of the Constitution. The provisions of Section 1 and 2, particularly Section 2(3)(r) of the AJA are so explicit that one may argue that the FHC should have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit. Nonetheless, in so far as the provisions of any law, including the ones listed above purport to confer jurisdiction in respect of wages and labour matters of seamen on the FHC, the provisions must remain null and void to the extent of their inconsistency with the provisions of the Constitution.10
The counsel to the Respondent argued that by the amendment to the Constitution, the Labour Act, by extension Section 91 of the Labour Act, has become part of the entirety of Section 254C(1) of the Constitution and the former must be considered in construing the latter. Counsel maintained that it is for this reason that the NIC lacks jurisdiction to entertain claims for wages by members of crew of a vessel. However, the mention of the Labour Act in no way whittles down the exclusive jurisdiction of the NIC. In support of this position and as cited by counsel, we further cite the case of Jegede v Akande11 to the effect that in the interpretation of the Constitution or statute provisions which mention specific things, that the express mention or exclusion of one thing excludes others mentioned. In light of this, the provision of Section 254C(1) of the Constitution expressly excludes the operation of the Labour Act to the entire Section but rather limits its operation to paragraph (b). Hence, the definition of "workers" as provided in Section 91 of the Labour Act can't be interpreted to apply to the entire Section or limit the jurisdiction of the NIC.
The Court of Appeal cited verbatim the provisions of Section 254C(1)(a) and (k) and held that the interpretation to be given the provision is the literal approach. In upholding the Appellants' interlocutory application, the Court of Appeal unanimously held that Section 254C(1) is clear and unambiguous, i.e. that it was the intention of the draftsmen that Section 254C(1) of the Constitution confer on the NIC to the exclusion of all other courts with jurisdiction, exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of the items listed thereunder, in this case, over maritime labour related matters, inclusive of crew wages.
In support of its decision, the Court of Appeal cited the case of NDIC v Okem Enterprises12 where the Supreme Court defined the term "notwithstanding" and held as follows:
When the term 'notwithstanding' is used in a section of a statute, it is meant to exclude an impinging or impeding effect of any other provision of the statute or other subordinate legislation so that the said section may fulfil itself. It follows that as used in Section 251(1) of the Constitution, no provision of that Constitution shall be capable of undermining he said section.
Therefore, where the principal claim being contemplated in an action is one connected to labour or employment, it has been established by the Court of Appeal that such a dispute is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the NIC.13
Furthermore, the Court of Appeal faulted the trial Court's neglect of its earlier decision in the case of Assurance Foreningen Skuld (GJENSIDIG) v MT Clover Pride & Palm Spring Global Limited14 where the FHC relied on Section 254C1(a) and (k) of the Constitution and held that a claim for crew wages fell outside its jurisdiction but within the exclusive jurisdiction of the NICN. In that case, through various employment agreements, the demise charterer of the MT Clover Pride acquired the services of approximately 23 crewmen. The demise charterer had registered the vessel with the plaintiff (a protection and indemnity insurance club), but the cover was subsequently terminated due to the demise charterer's failure to pay the fixed premiums. In November 2017, the vessel's crew notified the plaintiff that the owners had abandoned the vessel and requested the plaintiff's intervention in the repatriation of the abandoned crew from Nigeria and payment of their outstanding wages dating from August 2017 to November 2017. The plaintiff undertook to pay the crews' accrued wages and their repatriation costs. In this way, it acquired the crews' rights to the extent of the payments made and expenses incurred in line with regulation 2.5.2, standard A2.5.2 and paragraph 12 of the Marine Labour Convention 2006. Having inherited the crews' rights, the plaintiff instituted an action in the Federal High Court, claiming $293,702.68 from the defendant for losses suffered due to the defendant's breaches of its various employment agreements with the crew. The vessel was subsequently arrested to secure the plaintiff's claim. By an ex parte order dated 5 February 2018, Palm Spring Global Limited, the owner of the defendant vessel, was joined as an intervener in the suit. It immediately brought an application seeking, among other things, the unconditional setting aside or discharge of the order of arrest and the striking out of the suit for want of jurisdiction. Palm Spring Global Limited contended that as the claim concerned the wages of crew members employed on board the defendant vessel, the claim fell within the National Industrial Court's exclusive jurisdiction. The trial court held that the NIC is clothed with exclusive jurisdiction in labour-related matters (including maritime labour matters) pursuant to Section 254C(1) of the Constitution.
Based on the above reasoning, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, the ruling of the lower Court was set aside and the suit was struck out for want of jurisdiction.
AN ALTERNATIVE ARGUMENT
The judgment of the Court of Appeal in MT Sam Purpose v Amarjeet Singh Bain appears to have settled the position that the NIC and not the FHC has exclusive jurisdiction in maritime labour claims. However, this notwithstanding, the judgment has been criticised on certain grounds and it is hoped that this case will be appealed further to the Supreme Court to put the issue to a final rest. In the meantime, we offer an alternative position to the judgment of the Court of Appeal in the arguments below.
DETERMINING FACTOR OF JURISDICTION
It is a settled principle of law that the primary factor, which determines the jurisdiction of a Court, as rightly held by the Court of Appeal in MT Sam Purpose v Amarjeet Singh Bain is the plaintiff's claims in relation to the Constitution and the statutory provisions that established the Court. If the claims do not fall within the subject matter jurisdiction of a particular Court as provided in the Constitution or the Statute that established that Court, that Court is said to lack jurisdiction. A critical examination of the reliefs sought by the Plaintiffs/Respondents in their Statement of Claim reveals that they are primarily claims for their unpaid wages as crew members or seamen. Thus, the ultimate issue is which Court has the jurisdiction to entertain the claims by crew members for their unpaid wages against a ship. Is it the Federal High Court or the National Industrial Court?
CRITIQUE OF THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL
From the reading of Section 254C(1)(a) and (k) of the Constitution, and using the literal rule of interpretation which stipulates that where the words of a Statute are clear and unambiguous, they should be given their ordinary meaning,15 it is undoubtedly clear that where there is any labour related dispute or any dispute relating to or arising from the payment or non-payment of salaries or wages of any employee, the NIC is vested with exclusive jurisdiction over such disputes.16 However, the Constitution in Section 251(1)(g) grants exclusive jurisdiction to the Federal High Court with respect to admiralty matters.
The Constitution does not define the extent of the admiralty jurisdiction of the FHC, but furtherance to the provision of Section 251(1) that 'notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Constitution and in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly...,' Section 1 of the AJA provides for the extent of the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, which covers jurisdiction to determine maritime claims in Section 2 of the Act. Section 2(3)(r) of the AJA provides for the items covered under a general maritime claim. Noteworthy, the Supreme Court in Bronik Motors Ltd v Wema Bank Ltd17 held that in dealing with the appropriate interpretative approach in a situation where the content of the subject matter jurisdiction is not expressly set out in the Constitution, the jurisdiction explicitly set out in an Act of the National Assembly is saved by the words of general incorporation. On this basis, it is submitted that the relevant sections of the AJA are incorporated into Section 251(1)(g) of the Constitution.
Classifying claims for wages and salaries of crew members or seamen under the category of general maritime claim is significant because such a claim can be secured by a maritime lien. This gives a claimant the right to bring an action in rem and seek an order to arrest a vessel as pre-judgment security.18 Apart from the fact that such claim is supported by a maritime lien, it also has priority over mortgages and preferential rights on the vessel attached.19
ACTION IN REM AND ACTION IN PERSONAM
In the case of Mercantile Bank of Nigeria Ltd v Tucker & Ors, The Bosnia,20 an action in rem was described as an action against a res (thing) which is usually a ship or cargo or freight and may be filed against the proceeds of sale of the res by the court and the res may be arrested if within jurisdiction whilst an action in personam is like an action in contract or tort and it is necessary to look at the person who was liable at the time the cause of action arose..21
Due to the fact that the sea is the medium through which many international transactions are carried out,22 the ability of seafarers to easily enforce their claim for wages is germane to the overall success of international trade. This is one of the reasons why both the AJA and the MSA classify wages and other payments due to seamen as maritime claim secured by maritime lien and having priority over several other maritime claims. Section 5(3) of the AJA provides that that in any case in which there is a maritime lien or other charge on any ship for the amount claimed, an action in rem may be brought in the court against that ship.
From the above, it is clear that maritime liens are enforceable only by the invocation of the admiralty jurisdiction of the appropriate Court, as the underlying doctrine sees the ship and not its owners as the wrongdoer. The question that arises then is, does the National Industrial Court have any admiralty jurisdiction or power to order the arrest of a ship as security for a claim for wages and salaries by crew members or seafarers? Sadly, the Court of Appeal in the MT Sam Purpose v Amarjeet Singh Bain case failed to avert its mind to this question.
There is nothing in Section 254C(1) that confers on the NIC any admiralty jurisdiction, neither is there any statute empowering the NIC to give an order for the arrest of vessels or empowering litigants to commence an action in rem against vessels for the enforcement of their claims. Thus, we can rightly conclude that the NIC does not have the power to entertain an action commenced in rem for enforcement of maritime labour claims secured by maritime liens.
However, looking beyond the Constitution and Statutes, Order 20 of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017 gives the NIC the power to attach any property of a defendant as security for a claimant's claim over which the Court has exclusive jurisdiction. Based on this provision, it can be argued that the traditional pre-judgment security vide arrest of vessels has not been rendered otiose, since the NIC has exclusive jurisdiction over labour related matters and any dispute arising from non-payment of wages or salaries, this power undoubtedly extends to arrest of a vessel as security for claim for unpaid wages by seamen.
Even if the aspect of the arrest of a vessel is taken care of by the NIC Rules, the other aspect of commencing such action as an action in rem against the ship is strongly in doubt. Therefore, claims for unpaid wages by seamen before the NIC will only be against their employer, in personam and not against the ship, in rem. This definitely is a grave concern to crew members and may affect the growth of the maritime industry in Nigeria.
APPROACH TO CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION
Given the larger implication of the case before the Court of Appeal and its constitutional importance, rather than relying on the literal rule in interpreting Section 254C(1) to take away from the Federal High Court jurisdiction over 'maritime labour' claims and give same to the NICN, the Court of Appeal should have adopted a more liberal approach in interpreting the provisions of the Constitution especially in the apparent conflict between section 251(1)(g) and Section 254C (1)(a) and (k).
The Supreme Court has held in a long line of decisions23 that the Constitution should be construed as a whole. Particularly, in the case of Ishola v Ajiboye,24 the Supreme Court per Ogundare JSC held as follows:
Constitutional language used in a provision is to be given reasonable construction and absurd consequences are to be avoided; constitutional provisions dealing with the same subject matter are to be constructed together; seemingly conflicting parts are required to be harmonized, if possible, so that effect can be given to all parts of the Constitution; and an article or clause in the Constitution influences its construction.
Also, Karibi Whyte JSC in Savannah Bank of Nigeria Ltd v Pan Atlantic Shipping & Transport Agencies Ltd,25 a case involving a conflict between the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court and the State High Court in admiralty matters, while holding that the Federal High Court had exclusive jurisdiction over admiralty matters, despite the unlimited jurisdiction of the State High Court as provided in the 1979 Constitution, stated thus:
This court has adopted a liberal approach in the construction of the provisions of our constitution of incorporating the words so used to save rather than defeat the intentions of the constitution. Our role is to interpret the sections liberally - see Nafiu Rabiu v The State (1980) 5-11 SC. 130 at 148. Hence where the alternative of two modes of construction is likely to produce a result opposed to the intentions of the law regarding the section construed it is the duty of the Judge to prefer and apply the construction that is in accord with and will lead to the obvious intentions of the legislation.
Looking at the relevant Constitutional provisions and all the legislations applicable to the issue at hand, especially the AJA and the MSA and bearing in mind the approach to Constitutional interpretation laid down in the above cases cited, it is hard to conclude that it is the intendment of Section 254C(1) to deprive the Federal High Court of jurisdiction over maritime labour claims, especially where such claims are couched in such a way as to invoke the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL
The implication of the judgment of the Court of Appeal is that since the NICN was established as a Court of special jurisdiction for labour related matters, labour and employment matters of crew or seamen in vessels are by virtue of Section 254C(1)(a) and (k) of the Constitution within the jurisdictional competence of the NICN. Therefore, the relevant provisions of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act and Merchant Shipping Act, 2007 that give the Federal High Court jurisdiction in this matter are void to the extent of their inconsistency with Section 254C(1). Hence, an aggrieved crewman is required to approach the National Industrial Court to settle disputes on unpaid crew wages and all relating labour and employment matters. Also, the decision of the Court of Appeal may on its face value appear to have broadened the reach of Section 254C(1) to any claims by employees against their employer in respect of issues contemplated in Section 254C(1) that arose from or is in connection with a ship.
Furthermore, the claims of members of the crew of a vessel for wages and other entitlements, being classified as labour-related matters and coming under the exclusive jurisdiction of the NICN will no longer enjoy the benefits and status of a time-honoured maritime claim enforceable by an action in rem.
This judgment has opened up an unending debate in the legal industry on the jurisdictional scope of the Federal High Court and National Industrial Court on maritime labour related matters. However, from the above decision, it is clear that even though Section 251(1) of the Constitution provides for the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, the express use of the word "notwithstanding", as defined by the apex Court in Nigeria, in Section 254C(1) clearly made the former provision subject to the latter.
Until there is legislative intervention on the issue by way of alteration or amendment of the Constitution and legislations such as the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act and Merchant Shipping Act, 2007 to lay the jurisdictional debate to rest or judicial intervention by way of a contrary or dissenting judgment by the Supreme Court, the decision of the Court of Appeal remains the position of the law.
1. (Unreported) Appeal No: CA/LAG/CV/419/2020.
2. (Unreported) Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1365/2017.
3. Section 2(1) of the Act.
4. Section 2(2) of the Act.
5. Assurance Foreningen Skuld (GJENSIDIG) v MT Clover Pride & Palm Spring Global Limited (Unreported) Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1807/2017; Fernando & Ors. v Owners MV Rhodesian Trader (1980 – 1986) 2 N.S.C. 339.
6. Section 66 of the Merchants Shipping Act, 2007 also states claims that can be secured by maritime liens on the ship; MV Kianan (1979) 1 N.S.C. 462 CA.
7. Section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended); Sections 1 and 2 of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act, Chapter A5, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
8. (2004) 3 NWLR (Pt. 860) 305; Abdulraheem v Oloruntoba-Oju (2006) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1003) 581.
9. Section 254C(1)(a) and (k); Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria v Ehigi Egbe (2018) LPELR-44972(CA) 32; Coca Cola (NIG) Ltd v Akinsanya (2017) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1593) 74 at 129 t0 130.
10. Okeke v Securities and Exchange Commission & Ors (2013) LPELR-20355C(CA);
11. (2014) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1432) 43 at 56; See also Abegunde v Ondo State House of Assembly (2015) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1461) 314, 371-372.
12. (2004) 10 NWLR (Pt. 880) 107 @ 182 para. H
13. Skye Bank Plc v Iwu (2017) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1590) 24 @ 173; UBA & Anor v Ezekiel (2018) LPELR-43778 (CA).
14. (Unreported) Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1807/2017.
15. Niger Progress Ltd. v North East Line Corporation (1989) 3 NWLR Pt. 107 68.
16. UBA & Anor v Ezekiel (2018) LPELR – 43778 (CA).
17. (1983) NSCC 226; (1983) 6 S.C. 158
 Section 66 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007 (MSA).
19. Section 67 of the MSA.
20. Vol. 1NSC 428 at 430.
21. See also the case of Rhein Mass Und See GMBH vRivway Lines Limited (1998) 5 NWLR (Pt. 549) 265 at 277/278; NPA v Panalpina (1973) 5SC 77; Satyan 1 v IMB Ltd (2002) 5 NWLR (Pt. 760) 397 at 414
22. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that about 90% of traded goods are carried via the sea. The OECD 'Ocean Shipping and Shipbuilding' https://www.oecd.org/ocean/topics/ocean-shipping/ accessed 3 June 2020.
23. Rabiu v Kano State (1980) 8-11 SC 130; Attorney General of Bendel State v Attorney General of the Federation, (1981) 10 SC 1;  1 FNLR 179; Elelu-Habeeb & Anor. v AG Federation & Ors (2012) LPELR-15515 (SC).
24. Ishola v. Ajiboye (1994) 6 NWLR (Pt.352) 506.
25. (1987) ALL NLR 42.
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