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20 rights groups drag FG to court over Port Harcourt Refinery

By Ejiofor Alike on 23/06/2017

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•Port Harcourt Refinery.
•Port Harcourt Refinery.

Despite the recent clarifications by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that the Federal Government has not given out the Port Harcourt Refinery to private investors, 20 rights groups have dragged the Federal Government to a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over the planned concession of the refinery.

In the suit filed by Festus Keyamo, the plaintiffs joined Kachikwu, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Agip Oil Company and Oando Plc as first, second, third and fourth defendants respectively.

Kachikwu had clarified recently that the recent reports insinuating that the refinery was concessioned to Oando and Agip were untrue.

He said about $1.2 billion was needed to repair the three refineries of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

According to him, a technical committee set up by the government to undertake the review and selection process was yet to submit its report.

But in a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/558/2017, the 20 rights groups want the Federal High Court to determine whether the decision by Kachikwu and the AGF to enter into an agreement with the Agip and Oando to “repair, operate and maintain” the Port Harcourt refinery does not amount to granting “concession” of a federal government infrastructure in view of the provisions of sections4(1) and (2), 5(a) and (b) of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act, 2005.

The plaintiffs also want the court to determine whether the decision to enter into the agreement “without recourse to the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission is not illegal, null and void in view of the provisions of sections4(1) and (2), 5(a) and (b) of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act, 2005.”

Another issue the plaintiffs want the court to determine is whether by the provisions of Sections 4(1) and (2), 5(a) and (b) of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act, 2005, the petroleum and justice ministers can grant approval for the Concession of the Port-Harcourt Refinery without: “Publication in at least three national newspapers having wide circulation in Nigeria, and such other means of circulation; inviting open competitive public bid for such project or contract approved under the Act and Contractors applying/submitting bids and proposals.”

The plaintiffs want the court to declare that the decision by the petroleum and justice ministers to enter into an agreement with Agip and Oando to repair, operate and maintain the Port Harcourt Refinery amounts to concessioning of the refinery

The 20 rights groups also want a declaration “that the decision by the 1st and 2nd defendants to enter into an agreement with the 3rdand 4th defendants to repair, operate and maintain the Port Harcourt Refinery without recourse to the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission is illegal, null and void in view of the provisions of sections 4(1) and (2), 5(a) and (b) of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act.”

They are also seeking an order of “injunction restraining the 1stand 2nd defendants, their agents, privies, assigns howsoever called from concessioning the Port Harcourt Refinery without recourse to the provisions of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act, 2005.” (THISDAY)

Source News Express

Posted 23/06/2017 3:23:48 PM

 

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