Oil Contract: Court Rejects Omokore’s Request To Stop FG | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Oil Contract: Court Rejects Omokore’s Request To Stop FG

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Posted: Jul 14, 2016 at 10:30 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday rejected a request by two oil companies linked to an ally of a former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Jide Omokore; for an order to stop the Federal Government from revoking a multi-billion contract awarded to them.

The firms – Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited – had filed an ex-parte motion, asking for among others, an order retraining the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, from terminating the Strategic Alliance Agreement signed between them.

After listening to the applicant’s lawyer, Mr. Babatunde Fagbohunlu (SAN), the judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, refused the motion on the grounds that it would not be fair on the respondents if the court granted the prayers in view of the many issues surrounding the agreement.

He ordered that the processes filed by the applicant in the suit, FHC/CS/477/2016, be served on the respondents to enable them to appear in court and be heard on their position.

The judge said, “I feel a number of principles are implicated here. First is the principle of sanctity of contract, and on that basis, the Clause 22 of the SAA containing an arbitration contract is that which ought to be obeyed ordinary.

“However, I have also noted that the SAA, which provisions are being sought to be enforced and protected are subject of a number of legal proceedings before the Federal High Court, both criminal and civil.

“These include suit No: FHC/L/CS/701/2016 and in which the applicants herein did file a motion dated 16/0/16 asking for the proceedings to be stayed and the matter transferred to arbitration.

“The second is a criminal charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/121/16 which came up for hearing on the 04/07/16.

In this charge, the SAA occupies a centre stage.

“In the context of all the aforementioned proceedings, in which the SAA, being sought to be enforced before me, are pending, I am concerned that the principles of order in administration of justice, and also of public accountability are equally implicated.

“In the light of that, it appears to me, and I hold that it would be an injudicious exercise of my discretionary powers to exercise my discretion and grant the interim injunctions ex-parte as sought without first, hearing the respondents.

“However, because on a general view, I am concerned that some merit exist in the case of the applicants as to make them deserving of interim preservatory orders, I therefore order that the respondents should appear before me on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, to show cause why the interim preservatory orders as sought should not be issued.” (Punch)