From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
A plaintiff, Hon Osazee Ozigbo, in suit involving the Warri Bottling Company Limited, in which judgment was delivered in his favour over breach of contract, has called on authorities to prevail on the company to pay his compensation as decided by a Benin High Court on March 20, 2012.
Hon Ozigbo had in 2003 engaged the Warri Bottling Company through its depot along Sapele Road, Benin City, for the supply of 3,500 crates of soft drinks amounting to the tune of N2.9 million for a rally for the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (APP).
He contended that after fulfilling the payment for the drinks, the Warri Bottling Company failed to supply them for the occasion, a situation that necessitated court action that lasted nine years until March 2012 when judgement was delivered in his favour and cost of N5 million and 8% monthly interest until the judgment sum is paid was awarded against the defendant.
According to the judgment:
‘On the whole, I hold that the plaintiff (Hon Dr Osazee Ozigbo) has successfully proved his claim of liability against the defendant (Warri Bottling Company Limited).
‘Accordingly, I hereby enter judgment in favour of the plaintiff against the defendant in the following terms:
‘The sum of N881,512,87 being the balance sum for the cost of N3,500 crates of liquid contents of the soft drink.
‘The sum of N787,500.00 being the cost of N3,500 empty crates of soft drinks.
‘The sum of N2,310,000.00 being loss of profit and the defendant shall pay interest at the rate of 8% on the judgment sum until same is finally liquidated. I award the plaintiff costs of N20,000.00 against the defendant.’
According to Ozigbo, all efforts to execute the judgment on the company, either through its management staff or Board of Directors since 2012 have proved unsuccessful as the company has deliberately removed its sign posts and packed out of their last known addresses both in Benin City, Warri, and Lagos, respectively.
Hon Ozigbo described how he has been traumatised by the situation, ranging from loss of initial payment, further contracts with his clients and good will from the public.
‘The company does not want to obey the court order. So I am calling on relevant authorities, both local and international, to help prevail on the company to pay my entitlement as granted by the court.
‘The company is a Public Liability Company with Board of Directors, so they cannot disappear into thin air like that because they paid their lawyers who handled the case for them.
’We went to court for two years again and I have spent a lot. After that, they said they have office that I was familiar with in Lagos. But the moment they knew I was in Lagos to exercise the execution of the judgement on them, the company deliberately removed its sign board and disappeared. The company has perfected the act of disappearing whenever they smell my presence.’
He called on the federal government, particularly the Edo and Delta State Governments to rescue him from the traumatic situation by intervening as the company now claimed that its properties have been sold out and no longer have fixed address.
’The company breached the term of contract. I arrested them and the company said they are not going to pay me because I arrested them, even the money I deposited with them.
‘I did not have any other place to go so I approached the court to seek justice. Ever since then, there have been threats to my life by the company,’ Ozigbo said.