Justice Tijjani Ringim of a Federal High Court in Lagos has granted Federal Government’s motion barring the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ministry of Petroleum Resources and National Petroleum Investment and Management Respondent Services (NAPIMS) from allocating crude oil to Addax Oil.
The judge made the order, sequel to a motion for mareva injunction filed and argued by Federal Government’s lawyer, Romeo Ese Michael of D.A Awosika SAN and Co.
The crude oil, according to government’s motion, is from those 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 Federal Government and the Attorney-General of the Federation are the plaintiffs in the suit while Addax Petroleum Development of (Nigeria) Limited and Addax Petroleum Exploration (Nigeria) Limited are the first and second defendants/respondents.
The NNPC, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, DPR and NAPIMS are the third to fifth respondents respectively.
The judge equally dismissed respondents’ notice of preliminary objection filed through their lawyer, I.O Olateru-Olagbegi.
He held that the suit was properly instituted and should be allowed to be heard at trial.
The court agreed with Federal Government that it would serve the interest of justice for the ‘res’ to be preserved owing to insinuations that Addax Petroleum is taking steps to liquidate some of its subsidiaries in Nigeria.
Justice Ringim held: “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.”
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 affidavit of fact within 7 days 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”.
The judge, however, ordered the Federal Government to swear to an affidavit that it would indemnify the respondents in the event that it misled the court to grant the injunction.
Further hearing in the matter has been fixed for March 21, 2022.