BusinessLegal/Judiciary

NNPC, Petroleum Ministry stopped from allocating crude oil to Addax Petroleum

By Francis IWUCHUKWU

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ministry of Petroleum Resources and National Petroleum Investment & Management Respondent Services (NAPIMS) were on Wednesday stopped from allocating crude oil to Addax Oil Exploration Plc.

The directive was issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, presided over by Justice Tijanni Ringim who held that the crude is from that explored/produced from OMLS 123, 124, 126 and 137 as stipulated in the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) of 1998 between the Addax and NNPC.

The decision of the judge came sequel to a Motion for Mareva Injunction filed and argued by the counsel to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), Romeo Ese Michael of D.A Awosika SAN and Co.

Justice Tijanni agreed with the FGN that it would serve the interest of justice for the res to be preserved owing to the government’s claim that Addax Petroleum is taking steps to liquidate some of its subsidiaries in Nigeria.

The judge declared that “It will serve the interest of justice if this application is granted because the applicant has established that there is fear of dissipating the res before the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“I find that this application is meritorious and same ought to be granted. Accordingly, it is hereby granted as prayed.”

But the court ordered the government to swear to an affidavit that it would indemnify the defendants if it misled the court to grant the injunction.

The judge had earlier dismissed the Defendants’ Notice of Preliminary Objection filed through their counsel I.O Olateru-Olagbegi.

The court held that the suit was properly instituted and should be allowed to be heard at trial and adjourned till March 21, 2022, for mention.

The plaintiffs in the action are the FGN and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) while Addax Petroleum Development of Nigeria Limited and Addax Petroleum Exploration (Nigeria) Limited are the first and second defendants/respondents.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ministry Of Petroleum Resources, Department Of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and National Petroleum Investment & Management Respondent Services (NAPIMS) are the third to fifth respondents respectively.

Other interim reliefs sought by the plaintiffs which were also granted by the court included a prayer to suspend “approval relating to budget expenditure and cost, howsoever described in regard to the interest of the 1st and 2nd Respondents in the aforementioned OMLS pending when the 1st and 2nd Respondents furnish and file before this court verifiable Bank Guarantee from commercial Banks in Nigeria to completely cover the monetary claims of the Plaintiffs in this action.

“An interlocutory order restraining the 3rd, 4th and 5th Respondents from allowing the 1st and 2nd Defendants/Respondents to transfer or assign their interest in the OMLS 123/124 and 126/137 pending when the 1st and 2nd Respondents furnish and file before this Court verifiable Bank Guarantee from commercial Banks in Nigeria to completely cover the monetary claims of the Plaintiffs in this action.

“An interlocutory order of this honourable court restraining the 3rd, 4th and 5th Respondents from dealing with the 1st and 2nd Defendants/Respondents with respect to OMLS 123/124 and 126/137 pending when the 1st and 2nd Respondents furnish and file before this Court verifiable Bank Guarantee from commercial Banks in Nigeria to completely cover the monetary claims of the Plaintiffs in this action.

“An interlocutory order of this honourable court compelling the 3rd, 4th and 5th Respondents to file an affidavit of fact within 7days of service of this Application or any Order of this Honourable Court on them detailing the 1st and 2nd Defendants’ asset, property, monies or instrument and any other items with them pending the hearing and determination of this suit.”

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