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Ijaw berates FG for flouting court order, may file contempt charge

By Eniola Daniel
02 July 2022   |   2:42 am
Folowing the issuance of marginal oil field licences to the 57 successful prospecting investors by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) last Tuesday

President Muhammadu Buhari

Folowing the issuance of marginal oil field licences to the 57 successful prospecting investors by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) last Tuesday, a coalition of Ijaw interest groups has berated the Federal Government for flagrantly disobeying a subsisting restraining court order against the exercise, declaring that the deal would not stand.

The Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, presided by Justice Isa H. Dashen, had in suit no: FHC/YNG/CS/81/2020 dated November 11, 2020, filed by High Chief Philip Brown Agu and two others on behalf of themselves and Ijaw ethnic nationality, granted an injunction restraining the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, and the Federal Government from taking further action on the award of marginal oil licences pending the conclusion of the case before it.

However, in defiance of the court order, the government proceeded to award the licences last Tuesday, with the Minister, who supervised the exercise in Abuja, charging the 57 marginal field investors to quickly develop their assets and enjoy the full benefits of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

However, a statement yesterday signed by the Secretary of the Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Pastor Efiye Bribena, on behalf of the coalition, warned the concerned investors not to rejoice over the award of the licences, adding that every legal means would be used to stop them from prospecting for oil until the successful conclusion of the case.

The group said its legal team had already been briefed about the development for appropriate legal action, stressing that no effort would be spared in ensuring that all parties involved were made to comply with the subsisting restraining order.

“We know that they will like to argue that the restraining order applies to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, not the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), which issued the licences on Tuesday. It cannot stand because this is a clear case of contempt. We will pursue it up to the Supreme Court and we are very confident that we will win the case,” Eye said.