By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS— A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained Senator Stella Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Limited from making any withdrawals from their accounts and those of three other companies domiciled with 21 commercial banks. Stella Oduah The other companies are Sea Shipping Agency Ltd, Rotary Engineering Services Ltd, and Tour Afrique Company Ltd. The court order was sequel to a suit over an alleged indebtedness of the defendants in the sum of about $16.4 million and N100.5 million to Sterling Bank Plc. The court also directed the said commercial banks harbouring assets of Stella Oduah and the four companies, to sequestre their indebtedness, as at November 2016. The court ordered that the money be kept in an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, pending determination of the suit before the court to recover the debt. The trial judge, Justice Abdulaziz Anka, also ordered that court processes be advertised in national newspapers.
Meanwhile, Stella Oduah and her companies, have urged the court to discharge the order made against them. They have also filed a preliminary objection to the suit, urging the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction. The order of the court followed an affidavit deposed to by Business Manager of Sterling Bank, Mr Segun Akinsanya, filed and argued before the court by its counsel. In the affidavit, Akinsanya averred that on October 8, 2012, the bank granted a lease/Cabotage Vessel Finance Facility, CVFF, to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company in the said sums, to finance one unit 5,000 MT tanker vessel. Justice Anka adjourned till March 20, to decide whether or not to vacate the order.