Posted by News Express | 6 April 2019 | 618 times
Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has said the legal redress sought by the Nembe communities in Bayelsa over renewal of the OML lease would not disrupt oil production.
Kachikwu, who spoke on the sidelines of the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunities Fair in Yenagoa, noted that he was yet to be served the court processes.
He said that the disagreement between the operator of the oil block and members of its host communities had no bearing with the licensing process.
Kachikwu who was reacting to a question on the position of the government on the litigation said that the process would go on as schedules.
“To start with, I have not been served with the court processes and the case cannot affect oil production, we cannot halt oil production because there is a disagreement with the community,” Kachikwu said.
The people of Nembe-Bassambiri in Bayelsa on March 26 urged the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, to halt the renewal of lease for OML 29 to Aiteo pending the outcome of a substantive suit before the court.
The development is sequel to plans by the Minister of Petroleum Resources to renew the lease of OML 29 oil block to Aiteo for $82 million without regard to the position of the community in Suit No. FHC/YNG/CS/62/2015.
The plaintiffs are Ikaonaworio Eferebo-Igoma, Iyerite Chiefson Awululu-Atubu, Ayebaesin Edoghotu-Omoh, Markson Amaegbe-Orutari, B.C. Benwari-Yousuo and Doibo Evans representing OML 29 host communities.
The defendants are Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
Others are Aiteo Exploration and Production Ltd, Attorney-General of Bayelsa State and The Deeds Registrar, Bayelsa State Ministry of Lands.
The application sought an order restraining the Minister of Petroleum Resources from granting any application for the renewal of OML 29 “beyond the subsisting 30-year term.”
The trial Justice, Awogboro Abimbola, fixed April 11 for hearing on the motion on notice, while urging both parties to make more efforts in ongoing settlement moves.
Abimbola asked both parties to inform the court of any progress made on the settlement efforts at the next adjourned date.
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