Reckless driving: Obanikoro battles Coca Cola over N96m judgement debt
Justice Akeem Alogba of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has fixed July 11, 2017 to rule on a motion filed by Nigerian Bottling Ltd seeking to set aside a garnishee order granted against five banks in respect of an N96.8m judgment awarded in favour of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
The politician had in 2010 dragged NBC before an Edo High court seeking damages over an accident that along Lagos-Benin Highway where a Coca-Cola truck crashed into her daughter’s car, killing the driver, a police orderly and her daughter’s friend, Ibukun Adeniyi. Obanikoro’s daughter, Abidemi who was the only surviving person in the accident was subsequently flown to South Africa for life saving medical procedure. Six years after, the Edo High Court sitting in Auchi delivered a judgment ordering the NBC to pay N96,767,737.52 in favour of the plaintiffs.
While $184,236.52 (N76,694,612) was specifically awarded as cost for medical expenses for Abidemi’s treatment, R48,779.66 (N1,073,152.52) was awarded for her hotel accommodation and N10million to Mrs Agnes Akele for the death of her husband who was the driver of the car.
The court also awarded N1,500,000 to Obanikoro as expenses incurred on behalf of his late driver and police and another N10,000,000 to the daughter as general damages for her pain and suffering. Although NBC appealed the quantum of amount awarded in favour of the plaintiffs, Obanikoro through his lawyer, Lawal Pedro, (SAN) registered the judgment before the Lagos High Court since NBC’s headquarters is located in Lagos.
Obanikoro subsequently obtained a garnishee order against five banks where NBC accounts are domicile. NBC appealed against the Garnishee order. Opposing the order, NBC lawyer, Ademola Isaac Olawoye urged the court to set aside the garnishee order as it lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter. He argued that since an appeal has been filed in respect of the judgment delivered by Edo High Court, no other court can adjudicate on the matter. In his response, Lawal Pedro, SAN asked the court to disregard the argument of judgment debtor as there is no evidence before the court to show that an appeal has actually been entered against the Edo High Court
judgment. Justice Kazeem Alogba adjourned the matter to July 11, 2017 for ruling. Vanguard