There are indications that the legal tussle surrounding Nigeria’s oil blocks – OPL 245 – will shift to Nigeria today as the federal high court, Lagos is scheduled to hear a case filed by the Human Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA.
The rights group has demanded the Federal Government to revoke the oil licence awarded to Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, in 2011 over allegations of corruption.
The IOCs paid $1.3 billion for the licence — with $210 million going to the federal government as signature bonus and $1.1 billion to the original awardees, Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd owned by Chief Dan Etete, former minister of petroleum.
In its motion, the rights group indicated that: “the entire Malabu transaction in relation to the OPL 245 is unconstitutional, illegal and void as it was not legally granted, same having been obtained fraudulently vide corrupt practices”.
HEDA argued that Eni and Shell’s current hold on the licence is tainted by its original allocation in 1998 to Malabu Oil & Gas.
It stated that Chief Dan Etete, held an ownership stake in the company under a pseudonym, “constituting the height of conflict of interest and corrupt practices”.
In a statement, Lanre Suraju, Chairman of HEDA, stated that the law suit was instituted “to expose the players in the notorious Malabu scandal in which extant local laws and policies were breached and blatantly ignored”.
“We shall use the law to retrieve this national asset from unscrupulous persons and corporations.’’