Court asks SON to justify new cement grade directive

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday insisted on the need for the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI) to explain the rationale behind the newly introduced cement grade, with which they now want cement manufacturers to comply.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling, refused the applications by SON and the ministry for an order setting aside an earlier order by the court, directing them to show cause why they should not be restrained from enforcing the new cement grade, as prayed in an ex-parte application by a cement manufacturing company, Lafarge Cement WAPCO.

By the ruling, the defendants are still required to convince the court on why they should not be restrained from enforcing the new policy on cement grade.

Lafarge had, upon the introduction of the new grade, sued SON and MITI, challenging the propriety of the policy.

Suspecting that the defendants could penalize it for not meeting the new standard before the determination of its suit, Lafarge applied ex-parte for an order restraining the defendants from enforcing the new policy.

The court declined to grant the order sought ex-parte, but ordered the defendants to appear and show the reason why the restraining order sought ex-parte by Lafarge should not be granted.

Tuesday’s proceedings were stalled in view of the application by plaintiff’s lawyer, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) for time to respond to the fresh processes filed by the defendants, but served on him the previous day.

Lawyers to SON and MITI, Rickey Tarfa (SAN) and Mrs. U. E. Hassan Baba frowned at the disposition of the plaintiff, accusing it of being reluctant to proceed with the case.

They prayed the court to set aside the order directing their clients to show the cause why the restraining order sought by the plaintiff should not be granted.

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