By Eunice Nnachi, Yenagoa
Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa on Thursday restrained the Federal Government from issuing licences for marginal oilfields in the Niger Delta, pending determination of an earlier suit.
Some Ijaw leaders had in 2020 approached the court seeking to halt licensing of marginal oil fields located in their domains, but following setbacks and delays suffered by the suit, the bid winners were announced on June 1, 2021.
Presiding Justice Isa Dashen in his ruling granted the injunction order in favour of the plaintiffs.
Plaintiff in the suit marked no. PHC/YEN/CS/81/2020 are Chief Brown Agu (Opu Agu VIII), Mrs Rosemary John-Oduone, President Ijaw Women Connect and Mr Femowei Friend on behalf of themselves and the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality.
On the other hand, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources are defendants in the suit.
The reliefs sought and granted by the court are: “That the respondents are restrained from further advertising and receiving bids in respect of the marginal fields.
“The defendants are also restrained from approving licences in respect of the marginal fields,”
It will be recalled that Dashen inherited the case from Justice Abimbola Awogboro following her transfer to the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court
The case has been fixed for June 8 for continuation of hearing and ruling on pending motions before the court.
Meanwhile, a coalition of Ijaw groups in a reaction to the development in a statement issued on Thursday, urged the parties in the shit to obey and comply with the order of court.
“It has come to the attention of this coalition of Ijaw interest groups that following a suit filed by some patriotic Ijaw sons and daughter, the Federal High Court has granted an injunction restraining the Minister of Petroleum/Federal Government from proceeding any further with the award of marginal oil field licences pending the conclusion of the lawsuit.
“It is our expectation that all citizens and corporate organizations abide by this ruling,” the coalition said.
The statement was signed by Efiye Bribena, Secretary, Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Lagos, Ben Okoro, Moderator, Ijaw Nation Forum (INF), Chief Amagbe D. Kentebe, BOT Chairman, Embasara Foundation, Hon. Iniruo Wills President, Homeland Chapter Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA).