The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday fixed July 5, 2017 to hear the preliminary objections to a suit filed by Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd against the Federal Government.
Joined as defendants in the suit are the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd; Nigerian Agip Exploration Company Ltd; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Chief Dan Etete.
In the suit filed on 10th April, 2017, Malubu Oil and Gas Limited is seeking an order of court stopping Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company and Nigerian Agip Exploration Company Limited from signing the Final Investment Decision (F.I.D) for the $13.5 billion Zabazaba Deep water Project located in Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL245) in the second quarter of this year.
In the motion on notice marked FHC/ABJ/CS/201/17, the plaintiff is further asking for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Federal government and the minister petroleum resources from considering to revoke or revoking the re-allocation of OPL 245 granted to the applicant by virtue of the 1st & 2nd defendants’ letter of July 2, 2010 pending the determination of this suit.
When the matter came up yesterday, Joseph Achimugu, counsel to the plaintiff pleaded with the court for an adjournment on the ground that the 4th defendant (Shell) was served the motion on notice in the open court yesterday morning.
“We therefore seek an adjournment to enable them respond to the motion since they are within time” Achimugu told the court.
However, all the other defendants equally informed the court that they had filed preliminary objection to the motion on notice as well as have agreed that the matter be adjourned.
The trial Judge, Justice John Tsoho consequently adjourned till July 5 for hearing of the preliminary objection.
It will be recalled that the suit was triggered by media publications to the effect that the Federal Government, the Minister Petroleum Resources, Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd are negotiating to “sign the Final Investment Decision (F.I.D) for the $14.5b Zabazaba Deep water Project located in Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL 245) in the second quarter of this year.