Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
THE Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed an objection filed by the Federal Government, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Nigeria Agip Exploration Company against the hearing of a suit seeking to reclaim the Oil Prospecting Lease 245 originally awarded to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
The suit was instituted by Mohammed Abacha, a son of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
Mohammed claimed to be the majority shareholder of the controversial firm, adding that the subsequent transfer of the OPL 245 to Shell and Agip was without his authorisation.
Ruling on the defendants’ objection to the suit, Justice Binta Nyako affirmed that the court had jurisdiction to hear the case.
She also ruled that the suit was statute-barred as it was not caught by the Public Officers Protection Act.
She added that the plaintiff was right to have included the Minister of Petroleum as a defendant, adding that the suit did not constitute an abuse of court process.
Justice Nyako adjourned till March 9 for hearing of the substantive suit.
The defendants sued in the suit are the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep Ltd, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Company Ltd and former Petroleum minister, Dan Etete.