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Ijaw leaders ask court to nullify marginal field licences

Nigeria’s marginal oil fields

Some Ijaw leaders yesterday approached the court to cancel oil mining licences issued by the Buhari regime, saying they were issued in breach of a restraining order of the court.

The Ijaw leaders prayed the Yenagoa Division of the Federal High Court to cancel the marginal oil field licences issued on June 29 by the Federal Government.

The plaintiffs are Brown Agu (Opu Agu VIII), Rosemary John-Oduone, president of Ijaw Women Connect and Femowei Friday, on behalf of themselves and the Ijaw ethnic nationality.

Their lawyer, Enie Otrofanowei, contended that the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources flouted an April 5 injunctive order of the court by granting the licences.

“We are seeking to invalidate or set aside the licences and we seek a short adjournment since the defendants are absent today, to argue our application,” Otrofanowei said.

The judge, Justice Isa Dashen, ordered that hearing notices be issued to all the defendants and adjourned the case to October 5.

Recall that the judge had on April 5 restrained the federal government from issuing licences for marginal oil fields in the Niger Delta pending the determination of the suit filed by plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs had in 2020 approached the court seeking to halt licensing of marginal oil fields in the Niger Delta.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to restrain the respondents from advertising, receiving and approving bids in respect of marginal fields.

But the oil fields bid winners were announced on June 1, 2021.

Marginal oil fields are shallow assets with less than 10 million barrels reserves that require further development before production.

The defendants in the suit marked: No. PHC/YEN/CS/81/2020, are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Petroleum Resources and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to restrain the respondents from advertising, receiving and approving bids in respect of marginal fields.

Dashen inherited the case from Justice Abimbola Awogboro, who was transferred to the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court. (NAN)

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