The Nigerian Submarine Divers Limited and TGP Projects Limited, both under water engineering firms have jointly asked a Federal High Court, Abuja to set aside the contract for an advanced integrity test on the 3rd mainland bridge in Lagos awarded to an engineering consulting firm, Icecon Nigeria Limited by the ministry of works.
The Plaintiffs, in a Writ of Summons, urged the court to declare that the award of the contract without compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007 is wrongful, unlawful, invalid, null void and unconstitutional.
He suit, which has Icecon Nigeria Limited, the Federal Ministry of Works and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants prayed the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from releasing any money or logistics or carrying out or continuing to carry out any integrity test whatsoever on the 3rd main land bridge in Lagos.
The Plaintiffs said in a Motion on Notice that the defendants failed to comply with the public procurement Act 2007 in the award of the contract for the underwater sonic pulse tests of the 3rd mainland bridge.
Other grounds for the Plaintiffs’ application, according to the motion was, “That the award of another detail integrity assessment of the said bridge is a waste of the tax payers’ money and a ploy to render ineffective the terms stipulated in the agreement between the applicants and the 2nd defendants.
“The 2nd defendants have failed to comply with the term and condition of the contract agreement awarded for another detail integrity assessment of the said bridge. It is imperative for the court to grant the injunction to avoid any irreparable damage or losses to the plaintiff in the event that this case is decided in favour of the plaintiffs and to avoid the judgment of the court being rendered nugatory”, the plaintiffs’ motion stated.
The Plaintiffs averred in an affidavit in support of their motion that, “the first plaintiff was awarded a contract for the consultancy services for underwater inspection of Eko and 3rd mainland bridges in Lagos by the 2nd defendant.
“The consultancy services agreement for the contract was executed in January 2011 between the federal government of Nigeria as represented by the 2nd defendant and the 1st plaintiff. Due to the technical nature of the contract and in order to ensure speed, accuracy and delivery of high quality services, the 2nd plaintiff was engaged to partner with the 1st plaintiff for the execution of the project”, the affidavit added.
They submitted that after the completion of the underwater inspection of Eko and the 3rd mainland bridges, they notified the works minister of the urgent need to carry out a comprehensive diagnostic appraisal of the integrity of the 3rd mainland bridge after discovering that many of the concrete piles and reinforcing steel had corroded as a consequence of decades of effluent discharges by the Lagos state government at the Iddo railway terminus end of the Carter bridge.
While they were waiting for further directive to avert the imminent collapse of the 3rd mainland bridge, the plaintiffs said, “it was a rude shock when they woke up on 26th August, 2013 to read on two
national newspapers that the federal executive council, a day earlier approved a contract on N209.7million to the 1st defendant for an advance integrity test for the 3rd mainland bridge”, adding that the 1st defendant is not known as underwater or submarine engineering company.
They held that the said contract awarded to the 1st defendant is in breach of the agreement the plaintiffs and the 2nd defendant.
When the matter came up yesterday, the defendants, through their counsels challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter and consequently asked the court to strike out the suit.
The defendants held, in their preliminary objections that the subject of the suit was an award of contract for the advanced integrity test on the 3rd mainland bridge in Lagos and that the plaintiffs ought to have filled the suit in Lagos and not in Abuja.
They prayed the court to strike out the suit on the ground of incompetency with a substantial cost.
The trail Judge, Justice Ademola Adeniyi adjourned the matter till March 19, 2014 for the Plaintiffs response to the preliminary objections of the defendants.