Court declines to stop FG from auctioning 10 Marginal Oil Fields

A Federal High Court, Lagos presided over by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke has refused to stop the federal government from auctioning 10 revoked Marginal Oil Fields, by dismissing an application for interlocutory injunction filed by the Operators.

Justice Aneke dismissed the application for orders of interlocutory injunction on Friday July 24 while delivering ruling on the application filed by the Marginal Oil Field Operators against the Minister of Petroleum Resources,

Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Engineer Auwalu Sarki, who were the Defendants, on the ground that the Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the Court why the order ought to be granted.

The 10 Marginal Oil Field Operators in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/597/2020, were; 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.

In dismissing the MFOs’ application for interlocutory injunction, Justice Aneke after perusing all the processes filed before him and citing plethora of judicial authorities, ruled that: “the Court having considered the papers filed and exchanged by the parties, refused the application by dismissing same for lacking in merit”.

The Judge held that the Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the Court that an Order of interlocutory injunction ought to be granted in this case.

Consequently, the Judge adjourned the matter till October 29, 2020, for hearing of the substantive suit.

It would be recalled that Justice Aneke on Friday May 29, 2020 refused to grant the Ex parte application seeking to restrain the Defendants from withdrawing the Marginal Oil Field Licenses. Instead, the Judge 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 Judge specifically ordered that the Applicants should serve the processes at the Defendants’ office located at 7, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. 

However, instead of complying with the Order of Court, the Applicants allegedly decided to serve the processes through email without recourse to Court for an Order to do so.

On June 3, 2020 when the application for interlocutory injunction came up for hearing, the Defendants were absent whereupon the Court granted the application as prayed.

Upon becoming aware of this development, the Defendants through their team of lawyers (Mr. Adetunji Oyeyipo SAN; Dr. Adewale Olawoyin SAN; and Adebayo Ologe, Esq) approached the Court for the reversal of the Order of injunction on the ground of non service of court processes.

In urging the Court to set aside the Order of June 3, the Defendants through their Counsel, Adetunji Oyeyipo SAN; Adewale Olawoyin SAN and Adebayo Ologe, Esq argued that the Defendants were not served with the court processes before the Orders of June 3 were made.

They also argued that, even if the Applicants were to serve the Defendants via email, it must be done with an Order of Court, but the Applicants failed to obtain such Order in this case.

Based on the above, 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.

As directed by the Court, the application for interlocutory injunction was heard afresh on Monday July 20 and Ruling delivered on Friday July 24.

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