The Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) has vowed to battle the Federal Government over its demand for a share of about $13.65billion in the $62billion which five international oil companies allegedly owe Nigeria following the 2018 Supreme Court’s judgment on Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) between the country and the firms.
The other four IOCs include, Total Exploration & Production Company Limited, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Chevron Nigeria Limited.
The apex court’s verdict enabled the Federal Government to increase its share of income from the PSCs.
Shell is opposing the demand for a total of $13,651,034,052.59 by the Federal Government on the grounds that it was planning to commence arbitration proceedings in respect of the issue.
The firm, which accused the Federal Government of unilaterally making adjustments in the PSC in respect of the Oil Mining Lease 118 in enforcing the apex court’s verdict, sought a court order stopping the government from taking further action on its demand for the money until its planned arbitration is concluded.
The company filed the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/154, before the Federal High Court in Abuja, in which it sought an injunction against the government.
The four other IOCs from whom the Federal Government had demanded various sums of money based on the Supreme Court’s verdict filed similar suits at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Parts of the court documents filed by Shell were seen by our correspondent, last Saturday.
The documents indicated that the Federal Government demanded $13,651,034,052.59 from Shell, through a letter dated January 14, 2019, issued on its behalf by Trobell International Nigeria Limited.
Trobell is joined as the second respondent in the Shell’s suit, while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is joined as the first respondent and the Attorney-General of the Federation as the third.
Shell’s suit filed through its lawyer, Ogunmuyiwa Balogun of the Olaniwun Ajayi law firm, is anchored on section 251(1)(r) of the Nigeria Constitution, section 53 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Article 26(3) of the Arbitration Rules, section 11 and 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act and Order 28 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules.
But Trobell, in its response to the suit, had asked the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
The firm’s preliminary objection filed through its lawyer, Oladapo Agboola was made available to newsmen, last Saturday.
It argued that the matter could not be “re-litigated” after the Supreme Court had made a pronouncement on it.
It also argued among others that the affidavit filed in support of the suit contained extraneous issues which the court could not rely on.
Ohanaeze Restates Support For Ebubeagu, ESN
Apex Igbo social-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has ruled out the possibility of any clash of interest between the Indigenous People of Biafra’s Eastern Security Network (ESN), and Ebubeagu set up by the South-East governors.
The President General of Ohanaeze, Amb George Obiozor, who gave the assurance during a press conference, yesterday, said Ndigbo have a common interest of securing the zone.
He said the Federal Government, must as a matter of urgency, make delicate choices that would tackle insecurity across the country or risk loosing its nationhood.
Speaking on the recent attacks in Ebonyi and other states, which led to loss of lives and property, Obiozor said the dream of Nigerian Unity is fast receding and fading with violence, crisis and conflicts.
He noted that Nigerians have no place to hide as there is the rise of ethnic militias, agitation for recession, self determination, insurgency and banditry.
“The government must not get to the point where the citizens will feel uncomfortable about its decisions on matters of national interest and destiny.
“The FG must reconsider the use of force in resolving the present national crisis as history has shown that military and violence means to solve national questions is bound to fail.”
Obiozor further warned those encroaching on lands in the regions to thread with caution as land is a very sensitive issue in Igboland.
“There is no man’s land in Igbo land. Those encroaching are provoking our people and our deities,” he said.
Reacting to comments on why governors of the region established a joint security outfit instead of supporting the ESN, Obiozor said governors of the zone have the mandate to secure the South-East and their decision should be respected.
He, however, said that if the ESN have come out to protect lives in the region, they must corporate with Ebubeagu and not cross boundaries.
“We have common goals and different methods. The governors had thought well before coming up with the security outfit and as such, they should be backed up,” he said.
He disclosed that the decision by governors of the South-East to form a joint security outfit was taken after a meeting between governors and stakeholders in the region.
He said the formation of the joint outfit would go a long way in helping to deal with the recent wave of attacks on residents of states in the region.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo assures the governors of Ndigbo anywhere and everywhere for their efforts towards the security of Alaigbo,” he said.
Oil Spills: Group Accuses Oil Majors Of Dodgy Moves To Evade Liability
Right advocate and socially-relevant non-governmental organisation, Spaces for Change (SfC), has kicked against the attempt by oil majors to blame spillages from its activities on saboteurs.
The group was protesting the spillages from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Chevron on some communities in Bayelsa and Delta states.
SPDC had announced that the spillages were the handiwork of saboteurs
But Space for Change wants the oil majors to take responsibility for all damages rather than “It’s imaginary blames”.
In a statement, Spaces for Change Executive Director, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, said SPDC should not be allowed to evade liability with its ‘sabotage theory’ which claims that the spills were caused by saboteurs.
“SPDC must be made to take liability”, the group noted.
Part of the statement reads, “Spaces for Change condemns the reported oil spillages at Shell Petroleum Development Plc (SPDC) facility at Agbura-Otuokpoti community, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, and another spillage at the Chevron Abiteye flow station located in Benikrukru community in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State.
“The recent spillages in Delta State, which have affected over 15 communities, some of which are Benikrukru, Ekiagbene, Abiteye, Omadino, BaterenDeghele, Otunana, Makaraba, and other neighbouring communities, have resulted in thick crude oil slick flowing at a high speed and spreading to the nearby communities.
“Locals are living in constant fear of a fire outbreak in addition to other devastating effects of the spillages on their communities.
“The Joint Investigating Team, consisting of officials of SPDC, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), security agencies, Bayelsa State Government, and community representatives eventually visited the SPDC facility in the Agbura-Otuokpoti community and was able to contain the spillages to prevent further spread.
“However, while the investigation was ongoing to determine the cause and impact of the spillages, SPDC announced that there was an anonymous note found at the spill site, thereby suggesting sabotage”.
The release noted further that, “Out of the 23 oil spillages reported by SPDC from January to March, 2021 across the Niger Delta region, 20 of them were attributed to sabotage, while only three were reportedly caused by operational failures.
“Attributing spillages to ‘sabotage’ has become a major tactic oil companies employ to shield themselves from culpability when oil spillages occur in host communities. This current tactic employed by oil companies shows their insensitivity and abandonment of the legal duty of care owed to citizens living in these affected communities, especially the misfortune and economic hardships these companies have brought upon them as a result of their negligence.
“Residents of these communities have described the spillages as life-threatening and noted that their sources of livelihood have been destroyed by these constant spillages.
“More so, most of the damage resulting from these spillages like poisoning of waters, destruction of agricultural produce and livestock, are irreversible and cause untold hardships for residents of these communities.
“The current situation at Benikrukru community in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State hosting the Chevron Abiteye flow station is even worse. Even though the spillages have been occurring at the station for over two months now, no investigation or visit has been conducted by the Joint Investigating Team while Chevron is denying the oil spill in Abiteye and Utonana fields, including the 16” Makaraba-Utonana-Abiteye Right of Way (RoW).
“This has resulted in the discharge of large volumes of crude oil into the community river, resulting in pollution of the major source of water serving the community. This trend of evading corporate responsibility by major oil companies will only lead to helplessness and even outrage on the part of residents which could threaten the fragile peace being experienced in the region.
“Spaces for Change calls on the Federal Government and the oil companies operating in the region to ensure that these spill sites are remediated immediately without further delay. Oil majors must be mandated to deploy safety measures to mitigate the effects of spillages on “these communities.
“Accordingly, affected communities must be provided with emergency relief materials as a matter of urgency. The Federal Government must take further steps to ensure that investigations of spillages are open, fair and without undue interference from oil companies”.
Poor National Security Status Worries NGF
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has expressed fret over the recent attacks on security formations in Imo, Benue states and other parts of Nigeria.
The NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this to newsmen at the end of the forum’s meeting in Abuja on Wednesday night.
Fayemi said, “NGF members are particularly worried following what happened in Imo State, the attacks on the correctional facility and the police command headquarters.
“The release of prisoners and successive acts of violence and insecurity across the country, and the killings of soldiers at Benue, the forum has expressed its worry that it’s time for us to revisit the nature and depth of this security crisis comprehensively.
“The crisis would have become worse if states had not been taking the actions they have been taking individually and collectively.
“It is the steps taken at the state level that have managed to reduce the depths and the enormity of the security challenges. Nonetheless, it is still a worrisome development for us.
“We feel we’ll need a special review of the entire gamut of the security issues that we’re dealing with.
“We need to further engage the federal authorities both at the political level and federal authorities at the security level, in order to deal with this multifaceted challenge of security that we’re faced with.”
Fayemi disclosed that the governors also reviewed the economy as well as Executive Order No 10 of 2020 and related matters.
According to him, the forum took its positions on issues regarding Executive Order 10 and financial autonomy for the judiciary and legislature.
Fayemi, who didn’t disclose the resolutions, said that the NGF committees would meet with the Judiciary and Legislature representatives, yesterday, to present those resolutions directly to them.
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