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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Nigerian Firm, Melka West Africa, in Tug-of-War with Navy, EFCC Over Disobeyed Court Rulings

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ABUJA, Nigeria – A Nigerian firm, Melka West Africa Limited, has launched a blistering public challenge against the Nigerian Navy and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The company alleges the two entities have grossly violated the rule of law by ignoring court orders and judgments.

In a bold move, the firm sent a petition on Monday, August 7, 2023, signed by Emmanuel Osaghae, to the nation’s leadership including President Bola Tinubu and Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.

The petition accuses the Navy and EFCC of enforcing civil transactions with military force and operating outside their jurisdiction.

“The EFCC is again blatantly disregarding several orders of the court on this matter and has found a willing ally in the Nigerian navy,” states the petition, dated August 1.

Copies of the document were also dispatched to prominent Nigerian figures such as Tajudeen Abbas, the Speaker of the House of Representatives; the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola; and the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

The contention revolves around a Credit Facility Offer made to Melka West Africa Limited by First Bank of Nigeria Limited on December 16, 2022, with the company’s Tugboat, M.V. Naomi Princess, serving as security for the facility.

The contract for this transaction was executed by the late Chief Mike Uwaka, then managing director and chief executive officer of Melka West Africa Limited.

The situation deteriorated into a legal battle in a Federal High Court in Lagos following disputes between the bank and Melka West Africa.

Despite a judgment from Justice I O Harrison in 2020 which restrained the EFCC and First Bank of Nigeria Limited from harassing Melka West Africa and interfering in its business operations, the firm alleges ongoing violations.

The firm’s petition concludes with a call for swift intervention, imploring the Nigerian leadership to ensure adherence to the rule of law by government agencies and protect the sanctity of civil transactions.

It also appeals for safeguarding the burgeoning democracy by strengthening the pillars of justice and restoring public faith in the country’s judicial system.

“Ensuring that no agency of the Nigerian Government regards itself greater than the Nigerian state is crucial, so as not to bring the good works of this government to public opprobrium,” the petition declares.

As the conflict unfolds, the national and global community will watch for Nigeria’s leadership’s response.

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