Court declines application to stop FG from auctioning 10 Marginal Oil Fields

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Friday, refused to stop the Federal Government from auctioning 10 revoked Marginal Oil Fields as he dismissed an application for an Order of Interlocutory Injunction filed by operators of the revoked fields.

The court dismissed the application for Orders of Interlocutory Injunction while giving the ruling on the application filed by the Marginal Oil Field Operators against the Minister of Petroleum Resources and two others; Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Engineer Auwalu Sarki, on the ground that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy the court why the order ought to be granted.

The 10 Marginal Oil Field Operators (MFOs’) that filed the suit delineated FHC/L/CS/597/2020 are Associated Oil & Gas Limited, Dansaki Petroleum Limited; Bayelsa Oil Limited; Bicta Energy and Management Systems Limited: Del-Sigma Petroleum Nigeria Limited; Sogenal Energy Limited; Independent Energy Limited; Sahara Energy; African Oil & Gas Limited and Goland Petroleum Limited.

Justice Aneke in dismissing their application for interlocutory injunction after perusing all the processes filed before him and citing a plethora of judicial authorities held that “the court having considered the papers filed and exchanged by the parties, refused the application by dismissing same for lacking in merit.”

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The court further held that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy the court that an Order of Interlocutory Injunction ought to be granted in this case and subsequently adjourned the matter till October 29, 2020, for a hearing of the substantive suit.

It would be recalled that Justice Aneke had on Friday, May 29, 2020, refused to grant the Ex-parte application seeking to restrain the defendants from withdrawing the Marginal Oil Field Licenses but had directed that the application of the plaintiffs for Orders of Interlocutory Injunction filed by their counsel, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and Mr Uche Nwokedi (SAN), be served on the defendants ahead of the hearing scheduled for June 3, 2020.

The court had specifically mandated that the Applicants should serve the processes on the defendants at their office located at 7, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos but the applicants had in contradiction served the processes through email without recourse to the court for an order to do so.

At the June 3, hearing of the application for an interlocutory injunction, the defendants were absent and the court granted the application as prayed but they later through their legal counsels; Mr Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN), Dr Adewale Olawoyin (SAN) and Adebayo Ologe, Esq, approached the court for the reversal of the injunction order on the ground of non-service of court processes.

In urging the court to set aside the June 3 order, the defendants also argued that even if the applicants were to serve the defendants via email, it must be done with an order of the court which the applicants failed to obtain in the matter.

As a result, the court set aside its orders made on June 3 and consequently directed that the application for interlocutory injunction be heard afresh after service of relevant court processes on the defendants.

The application for interlocutory injunction was heard afresh on Monday, July 20 and ruling delivered on Friday, July 24.


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