DONGBAN-MENSEM, J.C.A. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): This is an interlocutory appeal against the ruling of the Hon. Justice A. Mustapha of the Federal High Court holden in Lagos, delivered on the 3rd June, 2004.
Resume of the facts which led to this appeal is necessary as a foundation. The appellant invoked the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, when on the 19th January, 2004; he filed an action in rem against the five respondents.
Upon a motion exparte, the appellant caused the 1st - 4th respondents to be arrested and detained pending the production by the respondents, of a first class bank guarantee from a reputable bank in Nigeria. Having failed to comply with the said condition the 1st - 4th respondents remained under detention.
The respondents eventually filed a motion on notice upon which the trial court pronounced a ruling on the 3rd June, 2004, releasing unconditionally, the 1st - 4th respondents.
The reason for the release as stated in the detailed ruling …