Odahiekwu Ogunde, Yenagoa
Ijaw leaders have approached Federal High Court in Yenagoa to stall the process leading to the bid for marginal oilfields located in their domains, pending the determination of their suit.
The suit No. PHC/YEN/CS/81/2020 slated for hearing on Tuesday, was filed by Chief Brown Agu (Opu Agu VIII), Mrs Rosemary John-Oduone, President Ijaw Women Connect and Mr Femowei Friend.
The absence of the presiding judge, Justice Abimbola Awogboro, stalled the hearing and subsequently compelled court officials to fix February 19, 2021 for the hearing of the case.
The suit by the three Ijaw leaders on behalf of Ijaw ethnic nationality, is seeking the court to restrain Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice, Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources from going ahead with the licensing rounds.
The plaintiffs, in a motion on notice, are seeking an order restraining the defendants/respondents from further advertising or receiving bids in respect of marginal fields pending the hearing and determination of the suit with suit No. PHC/YEN/CS/81/2020.
They also prayed the court to restrain the defendants/ respondents from giving out/approving licence in respect of the marginal fields pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
Department of Petroleum Resources had on April 6, 2020, announced the revocation of 11 out of the 13 marginal fields licences it issued to indigenous oil firms.
Oil Mining Lease (OML) 46 held by Bayelsa State Government located within onshore swamps won in 2013 through a bidding process conducted by the DPR, was among the licences revoked for being dormant for more than five years.