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Business Day Online (Nigeria): Alpha Delta drags Shell, fg to court over revoked oil wells

Alpha Delta Oil and Gas Resources has asked the Court of Appeal to quash the federal high court decision refusing it as party in Shell Petroleum Development Company’s ( SPDC) suit against Federal Government over revocation of Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 13 and 16

Nnorom oguchukwu

OMLs 13 and 16 initially awarded to SPDC were allegedly revoked by government that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) conducted fresh bidding ( in which Alpha Delta participated), prompting Shell’s court action.

Although, Federal Government, through Fidelis Oditah , opted that the case be referred to arbitration panel, Alpha and Hi-Rev Exploration and Production Limited preferred bidders for the revoked OMLs 13 and 16, thus asking the court to join them as necessary parties.

Both government and SPDC had opposed the application for the companies to be joined. As parties to the suit and asked the court to dismiss the respective application.

However, presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako on June 29 refused joining Alpha in the suit prompting its latest appeal.

Appellant in the motion on notice brought pursuant to order 3 rule 1 and 3 of the court of appeal rules 2002 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court argued that the refusal to join it as an interested party in the suit breached its right to be heard as enshrined under the 1999 constitution .

The company further maintained that the suit was not properly constituted (without it) because the proper parties were yet to be joined.

Abimbola Kayode, counsel to Alpha Delta announced this appeal Tuesday pointed out that with the appeal cited as CA/A/184/M/07 the lower court became functus officio in SPDC’s case against Federal government.

Consequently Abimbola withdrew an earlier application to stay hearing on SPDC’s action as was struck out by Justice Nyako yesterday.

Joined as co respondents include; the Minister of state for petroleum Resources, Department of petroleum resources and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF). As at press time Tuesday, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the case by the court of appeal.

SPDC had in its application asked the court to direct an arbitration of the dispute pursuant to Section 11 of the Petroleum Act 1969.

The company also nominated Justice Kayode Eso as the sole Arbitrator.

http://www.businessdayonline.com/?c=44&a=15079

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