Marginal Oil Field license: Court set aside restraining order against FG

 Lukman Olabiyi

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday set-aside its earlier order restraining the Federal Government (FG) from withdrawing licenses of 10 Marginal Oil Field operators.

The current order of the court was sequel to  a motion brought before it by the Ministry of Petroleum and Engineer Auwaul Sarki, a director in the Department Petroleum Resources (DPR).

In the motion, the two respondents argued that they were not properly served with the court processes.

Justice Aneke, had on June 3, restrained FG through the Ministry of Petroleum, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Engineer  Sarki, a director in DPR from taking any step against the operators. The court also held  that its order and processes in the motion on notice be served personally on the respondents.

Justice Aneke had made the restraining order after listened to an exparte application filed and argued by their lawyers led by Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and Mr. Uche Nwokedi (SAN).

However, contrary to the court’s order, the applicants, informed the court that the order and other processes in the suit were served on the respondents via their official e-mail address.

In set-aside the restraining order, Fruday, Justice Aneke held that the applicants failed to comply with the court order, which directed them to serve all the processes on the respondents’ address, which he said was contrary to the Rules of Admissibility.

Justice Aneke also held that the Practice Direction which the applicants based the service of the processes on the respondents could not supersede court rule, but ought to compliment it.

Consequently, the judge set-aside the restraining order made on June 3, 2020, against the respondents. While ordered that the whole processes commence De Novo (afresh).

After the restraining order was set-aside, counsel to the 10 Marginal Oil Operators, Oyetibo (SAN), pleaded with the court to urges the counsel to the respondents to accept the devices of the processes on behalf of their clients.

He also urged the court to make an order or urged the respondents to to tamper with the subject matter in the suit, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

Responding, counsel to the respondents, Dr. Olawoyin (SAN), while conceding to accept the processes in the suit on behalf of his clients, also promised that the government will not do anything with the subject matter until the determination of the suit.

Following the submissions of the parties, Justice Aneke, adjourned till July 20, for hearing of motion on interlocutory injunction.

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