By Akin Kuponyi
Based on an alleged default and inability to pay a debt of N137.2 million, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) filed a petition in a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos in the south- western Nigeria, urging the court to liquidate Niger Insurance Plc.
In a petition filed in court by a Lagos lawyer, Onyeka Ofoegbu, First Bank of Nigeria Limited alleged that a LB Tamuno vessel was a pledge, the vessel was insured and registered with a consortium of insurance companies, including Niger Insurance, in 2016.
At some point in August 2018 the vessel was submerged and sank in deep waters, all efforts to save said vessel proved abortive.
The claimant subsequently demanded the sum of N2,496,000,000.00 as total loss resulting from the sinking of the vessel LB Tamino from the consortium of insurers, which sum was adjusted downwards to the sum of N1,263,600.00 by the consortium of insurers.
The claimant disagreed with the net liability of the underwriters in the amount of N1,263,600,000.00 (One Billion Two Hundred Sixty Three Million Six Hundred Thousand Naira) relating to the insurance claim on the vessel , LB Tamuno.
Following an investigation conducted and a report provided by adjusters (consultants) appointed by the consortium of insurers to review the insurance claim, the amount claimed was adjusted and an upward revision to the sum of N1,572,480,000.00 (One Billion, Five Hundred Seventy Two Million Four Hundred Eighty Thousand Naira) was agreed as the claim amount and an acceptance form signed by the claimant in May 2019.
The Claimant claims that Niger Insurance, among other insurers, was to pay 10% of the agreed sum amounting to N157,248,000.00
The Claimant further claims that the Respondent only paid the sum of N20 million, against the agreed sum of N157,248,000.00 and has since failed and refused to pay the sum due to the Claimant.
The Claimant asserts that to date, the Compagnie d’Assurance du Niger has failed and refused to liquidate its debt to the Claimant and is now indebted to the Claimant in the amount of N137,248,000.00 (One Hundred and Thirty-Seven Million , Two Hundred Forty-Eight Thousand Naira) being the unpaid sum due on the insurance claim on the vessel, LB Tamuno.
Due to the Respondent’s failure and refusal to liquidate his debt, the Petitioner wrote a letter of formal notice to the Respondent demanding the immediate liquidation of said debt but the Respondent refused to liquidate his debt.
The Claimant claims that the insurance company is financially weak and hence unable to liquidate its debt to the Claimant in the said sum of N137,248,000.00 (One Hundred Thirty Seven Million, Two Hundred Forty Eight Thousand Naira). The respondent’s debt to the applicant is not disputed.
The petitioners submit that justice in this matter will be better served if the directors of the respondent are personally bound to liquidate the debt of the respondent who has become unable to repay his debt.
In the circumstances, it is fair and equitable that the Company be liquidated
The Applicant therefore humbly prays as follows:
That the defendant, Niger Insurance Plc, be liquidated by court order under the provisions of the Companies and Related Matters Act 1990 on account of its failure to liquidate its debt in the amount of N137,248,000.00
An order lifting the veil on the Respondent’s directors and making them personally liable to liquidate the Respondent’s debt to the Petitioner if the Respondent’s assets are unable to satisfy its debt to the Petitioner
And for any other order that the Honorable Court sees fit to make in the circumstances
Presiding Judge Ayokunle Fiji adjourned the case until June 23, 2022.