The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has hailed the recent Appeal Court judgement affirming its operatorship of the Oil Mining License 11 (OML 11), describing it as a huge victory for Nigeria and the beginning of addressing decades of host community restiveness.
The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Monday upturned the August 23, 2019 ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja which held that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was entitled to the renewal of the Lease on OML 11.
In the ruling, the Appellate Court held that the Minister of Petroleum Resources has the discretion whether or not to renew the OML 11 Lease in favor of SPDC. The Court further held that the Minister rightly exercised his discretion in awarding the OML 11 Lease to NPDC, a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
A statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, quoted the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, as saying that the ruling has paved the way for the NPDC to lead a formidable OML 11 team towards bolstering productivity in a responsible, efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable manner.
Accordingly, resumption of operations on OML 11 will demonstrate the NPDC’s full commitment to develop and add value to its communities and the nation as a whole
“We now have an opportunity to reconstruct a new beginning on OML 11, driven by global best practices and a social contract that would put the people and environment of the Niger Delta above pecuniary considerations.
“This is a huge victory for the government and people of Nigeria as we now have the impetus to responsibly unlock the oil and gas reserves the block offers for the benefit of all Nigerians,” Mallam Kyari stated.
The statement further stated that the NPDC has taken over the assets and operations are in full gear, adding that the company is working closely with all stakeholders and partners to achieve the new vision of “responsible, smart engineering and environmental sustainability,” that the Federal Government has endorsed for OML 11.
The NNPC GMD stated that the NPDC will pursue promotion of clean energy via its gas production with prospects of gas-to-power initiatives to “light up opportunities in the region,” and provide the much deserved industrialisation.
The statement noted that the environment will be a top priority for NPDC’s operations, as well as implementation of a robust host community engagement strategy to address subsisting issues, while agreeing to a transparent engagement model going forward.
The NNPC cautioned against any further legal challenge by the SPDC, stressing that it was about time Nigeria derived the benefit of the OML11 after over three decades.
Oil Marketers Urge Buhari To Crash Diesel Price
This, they said, will enable them import diesel, end petrol scarcity, and ultimately save the Nigerian economy from sinking, saying that dollar support should be available till Dangote Refinery comes on stream later in the year.
The association, among others, urged the National Assembly to immediately enact a Bill for the establishment of Energy Bank for easy transaction in petroleum products in the sector.
National President of the Association, Mr Benneth Korie, who briefed the media after the NEC meeting in Abuja, noted that the bulk of the operational challenge peppering marketers and depot owners spring from expensive diesel which hovers around N850/litre.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving a higher bridging cost payment to transporters, Korie said the operators’ challenges were far from over as oil marketers and depot owners spend about N20 million weekly on diesel to power their operations, thus eroding their profits.
The association urges the National Assembly to review the policy of taxation as it affects petroleum products supply and distribution chain.
Senate To Honour Brave Petrol Tanker Driver
The Senate has also recommended Ejiro to President Muhammadu Buhari for National Honours.
This followed a motion moved by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, and co-sponsored by Senator James Manager and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, at plenary.
It would be recalled that in a rare act of bravery, Ejiro had last week driven a burning tanker from danger zone to avert what could have been a tragic fire incident in Agbarho, Delta State.
The incident happened last Friday when Ejiro drove the burning truck for 25 minutes from a densely populated area to Agbarho River where the tanker was completely razed in the inferno. The act was captured by onlookers and had gone viral.
Rising under Order 45 and 52 of the Senate Standing Order 2021 (as amended), Senator Omo-Agege stressed that but for Ejiro’s courage, a major fire disaster which would have claimed several lives and property could have happened in his senatorial district.
The Delta Central lawmaker noted that Ejiro’s “extraordinary display of courage, reflex application of special driving skills, and huge risk to his own life, prevented a huge national tragedy and catastrophe by driving a burning tanker loaded with inflammable petroleum products from residential areas to safety so that thousands of our people may not die in an inferno that would also have consumed so much property in Agbarho, Delta State on Friday, June 10, 2022”.
The driver’s audacious act of heroism, he stressed, has saved the nation from national tragedy and mourning.
Accordingly, the Senate resolved to “invite Mr. Ejiro Otarigho to the Chamber of the Senate for public commendation by the President of the Senate, Senator Ibrahim Lawan.
“Recommend Mr. Ejiro Otarigho to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, for a befitting National Honour as Mr. President may deem fit for his extraordinary act of bravery, courage and skill that prevented the loss of human lives and property on a massive scale”.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who presided over plenary, hailed the driver for risking his life to drive the burning truck out of residential area to save lives.
Court Adjourns Worker Vs NLNG Matter To Oct
The judge, Justice Nelson Ogbuanya, said the adjournment was to enable the new counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu, to study the case before continuing.
Recall that the clamnant, Tambari Michael, a former contract staff of NLNG, had approached the court in 2019 to challenge the termination of his appointment by the Supervisor of NLNG’s Logistics, praying the court to declare the termination of his job as illegal and unlawful third party interference.
Michael in the suit number NICN/ PH/43/2019 claimed that displaying his name and image amongst persons accused to have committed criminal offensCes was defamatory, which, according to him, runs contrary to Section 4 of the NLNG Code of Conduct bordering on harassment.
Defendants in the suit are Nigeria LNG Limited, AUGJ Services Nigeria Ltd (the contracting firm) and Abimbola Ibukunle, the company’s Logistics Supervisor when the services of the claimant were terminated.
Other demands stated by the Claimant in the suit are “Damages be awarded to claimant against 1st defendant (Nigeria LNG Limited) and 3rd defendant (Mrs. Abimbola Ibikunle) for defamatory publication made.
“Damages also to be awarded against 1st and 3rd defendants for unlawful interference upon Mr Tambari Michael’s employment with AUGJ Services (2nd defendant).”
When the matter was called in the court on Thursday, counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu, who appeared in court for the first time, informed the court that he had just taken over the matter as counsel and solicitor to the claimant.
Speaking to newsmen after the court session, counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu expressed confidence that his client will get justice in the court but, counsel to the defendant declined comment.
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