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Court restrains Jonathan from signing amended oil, gas bill


JojonaA FEDERAL High Court, Lagos yesterday restrained President Goodluck Jonathan, from assenting to the bill for an Act to amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone.

The order was sequel to a motion ex-parte filed in a suit number FHC/L/CS/719/15 before the court by Prof. Olanrewaju Fagboungbe, on behalf of Nigerdock Nigeria Limited, Simco Free Zone Company and Nigerdock Nigeria Plc-FZE.

The trial judge, Justice Saliu Saidu also restrained the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Attorney- General of the Federation, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Minister of Transport and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA)from doing anything in respect of the subject matter.

In an affidavit sworn to by Yussufu Abdullahi, a director of Simco Free Zone Company, the deponent averred that Nigerdock Nigeria Limited is a promoter of Snake Island Integrated Free Zone, (SIIFZ) and that Simco is a company saddle with the responsibility to develop, market, manage, operate and administer SIIFZ.

The deponent averred that SIIFZ is approved and privately owned and managed through a presidential declaration in January 2005, in addition to the license given to it by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA), in April 2005.

Abdullahi also said that SIIFZ is operated by Simco under the direct supervision and monitoring of NEPZA, adding that other regulatory agencies such as NPA, Nigerian Customs Service(NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service(NIS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), and State Security Service, (SSS) whom he said are present within SIIFZ also ensure due compliance with all laws and that security is maintained.

Abdullahi also swore that at privatization, one of the covenants which the Federal Government as beneficial owner of the Nigerdock Nigeria Limited had with the core investor who purchased its share in the Nigerdock Nigeria Limited was that the Federal Government shall take all necessary steps to co-operate fully with the purchaser to ensure that the purchaser obtains all benefits under Nigerian Law as a strategic Core investor in the company.

He averred that in November 2014, the plaintiffs became aware that a Bill for An Act to Amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act, Cap. 05, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, has been presented to the Senate of the National Assembly.

The deponent further averred that, it is a known fact that a total of 24 ports were concessioned to private investors, with 14 and 10 in the western and eastern zones of NPA respectively. And that only one of the port concessionaires, Integrated Logistics Services Limited, INTELS, operates in Warri, Onne and Calabar ports.

And that the amendment proposed in Section 10 will confer a right of monopoly only in INTELS, which he said will be to the detriment of other port concessionaires and free Zones.

However, Justice Saidu has adjourned till May 26, 2015, for hearing of originating summon of the suit.

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