June 1, 2023

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Lawyers ask FG to obey court order on e-Customs project

Lawyers ask FG to obey court order on e- Customs project

Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria have asked the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to obey a court order in respect of a dispute on the multi-million Naira E-Customs Modernisation project.

The senior lawyers, Messrs Ahmed Raji and Dipo Okpeseyi have in separate letters warned the AGF; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Secretary to the Government of the Federation of “underhand efforts being made to obtain the Federal Executive Council’s approval and or ratification of the re-award of the E-Customs Modernisation Project.”

Specifically, the lawyers are asking the Federal Executive Council to suspend discontinue or discountenance any request to initiate deliberations or a fresh request for approval for the award of the said contract to any other bidder aside the original approval granted by FEC to Messrs E- Customs Project Limited.

“It is in spite of all these that the Nigeria Customs Service is pushing to have the FEC grant another approval with the sole purpose to embarrass, over reach and undermine the earlier approval and ratification by the FEC and prejudice the matter pending in court,” said Mr Okpeseyi in his letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation dated April 11, 2023.

The Federal High Court in Abuja had in June, 2022, restrained the Federal Government from enforcing or giving effect to an agreement on the Customs Modernisation Project otherwise known as E- Customs allegedly executed by its agents on May 30, 2022.

On 20 February, 2023, the court had admonished all parties in the matter to preserve the rest of any matter before court and do nothing to interfere with the proceedings.


The agents who allegedly executed the disputed concession agreement are the Nigeria Customs Service, Trade Modernization Project Limited, Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited and African Finance Corporation.

The court also issued an order of interim injunction against the Federal Government or its agents, acting through the Federal Executive Council, from retrospectively ratifying the decision to concession the Customs Modernisation Project also known as e- customs project to Trade Modernization Project Limited, Huawei Technologies Company Limited and African Finance Corporation.

The restraining order issued by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja Division of the court shall last till the hearing and the determination of a suit brought against the Federal Government and other parties by two aggrieved companies.

Hearing in the case resumes on April 19 but the plaintiffs have raised an alarm that the Minister of Finance and the AGF are going ahead to present a new memo to FEC on the matter despite a restraining court order.

The two aggrieved companies, E-customs HC Project Limited and Bionica Technologies (West Africa) Limited jointly challenged the alleged unlawful and fraudulent concession of the E-custom project to the defendants.

Counsel to the two aggrieved companies, Anone Usman had on behalf of the two plaintiffs argued an ex-parte application praying the Federal High Court for the interim orders against the defendants to protect the interest of his clients.


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