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Senior lawyers write Buhari over multi-billion naira cargo tracking contract

An indigenous company, Rozi International Nigeria Limited, has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to order a stay of all actions on implementation of the International…

An indigenous company, Rozi International Nigeria Limited, has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to order a stay of all actions on implementation of the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) scheme in line with the declaration of a Federal High Court, Abuja. 

The firm, through its lawyers, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Magaji Mahmud (SAN), in an open letter dated May 15, 2023, stated that going ahead with the implementation would have a far-reaching effect on the project and the entire economy. 

The letter, routed through the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, was also copied to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami.

In the letter titled ‘In the matter of approval and direction that the Ministry of Transportation should engage Messrs. Medtech Scientific Limited in partnership with Rozi International Nigeria Limited to be presented to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to avoid delay in the implementation of International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN)’, the lawyers explained that the case was instituted between Rozi International Nigeria Limited, the minister, Federal Ministry of Transportation and 10 others. 

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The other defendants are the AGF; Nigeria Shipper’ Council; BPP; ICRC; Winslow Logistic Limited; Equal Logistics Ltd.; Velocity Logistics and Marine Services Ltd; Sahams Crystal Investment Limited and Antaser Nigeria Limited.

The counsel explained that their client, which has over 30 years of reputable experience in diverse areas of service delivery in the Nigerian economy, sought and obtained the requisite approvals and a “No Objection” from the 1st to 4th defendants and that of the president to commence the ICTN scheme. 

They said their clients “incurred tremendous costs towards actualisation” of the scheme with a team of stakeholders, including that of the Ministry of Transportation, conducting due diligence on the firm’s facility in Italy on December 3, 2021. 

They submitted that despite the huge financial commitments, expenditure and investments made to execute the project, the 1st to 4th defendants turned around to seek to grant a fresh approval to the 6th to 10th defendants, while the president’s approval to their client was still subsisting. 

The lawyers stated: “This necessitated the commencement of the captioned suit vide a writ of summons and statement of claim filed on December 13, 2022, seeking declarative and injunctive reliefs pertaining to the International Cargo Tracking Note Scheme and procurement of companies thereto.

“Concurrent with the filing of the writ of summons and statement of claim, our client also filed a motion ex-parte on December 13, 2022, seeking order of interim injunction against all defendants in the suit and for the maintenance of status quo pending hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”

They informed that the court granted the motion ex-parte for an interim injunction on December 23, 2022 against the defendants and further ordered that parties should maintain status quo existing before November 24, 2022, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

The letter further noted that all the parties were duly notified about the injunction, including the AGF, who represented the federal government. 

But the lawyers lamented that despite the pendency of the suit and the express injunctive orders, the subject of the dispute was presented at the Federal Executive Council meeting on February 15, 2023 for the purpose of taking the approval already granted to Rozi and transferring it to the 6th to 10th defendants for a duration of 15 years. 

Doing this, the lawyers argued would be in defiance, breach, contempt and disobedience of the subsisting orders made by the Federal High Court against the defendants. 

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