British Deputy High Commissioner Dragged To Court Over Breach Of Contract

A limited liability company, A. Johnson &Sons Nigeria Limited has instituted N17,988.000 suit against the British Deputy High Commissioner, Lagos Nigeria, Mr Ray Kyles over an alleged breach of contract.

Joined as co -defendant in the ensuing legal battle is Her Britannic Majesty ‘s Secretary of State for foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

In a written statement made on oath by the Managing Director of the Plaintiff”s company, Mr Monday Johnson and filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Ubong-Abas Inyang, the deponent averred that on 5 February, 2008, he had a contract with the defendants relating to the provision of gardening, grounds maintenance and household handymen to provide maintenance services at various offices and residences in and around Lagos.

He said the contract emanated from similar past activities of a commercial nature existing between the Plaintiff and the defendants, and that this commercial relationship extended to the area of diesel supply, waste disposal, gardening and related horticultural services.

He added that the contract was supposed to run for a period of one year with three months notice to be given to the plaintiffs whenever the contract is to be determined, but such notice was never given to the Plaintiff before it was unilaterally determined by the defendants.

When the contract was unilaterally terminated by the defendants, the staff trained by the Plaintiff were re -engaged to continue to provide the same services at the defendants’ various offices and residences in and around Lagos on the pretext that those staff were recruited by the new contractor, whereas the defendants were yet to settle the outstanding four months due owed to the Plaintiff for the just terminated contract for the provision of gardens and grounds and maintenance services on their properties in and around Lagos.

Mr Johnson contended that the defendants were in breach of the contract by the manner they unilaterally terminated the contract without giving him three months notice as agreed under the general conditions of the contract.

The Plaintiff averred further that he had suffered damages, the total cost being accessed to be the sum of N17,988,000, and that the Plaintiff has made several attempt to resolve the matter amicably with the defendants but to no avail, consequence of which he engaged the services of Dayspring law firm to recover the money.

Consequently, the Plaintiff’s claim against the defendants is the sum of, N17,988,000.

However, in motion filed before the court on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for foreign and Commonwealth Affairs by Harry Ukaejiofor, the defendant is urging the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction, on the ground that the claim of the Plaintiff as constituted in its statement of claim arises and relates to breach of a simple contract, which the Federal High Court did not have jurisdiction over matter arising from simple contracts.

The presiding judge, Oluremi Oguntoyinbo has adjourned till 26 June, 2018 for hearing.

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