By Sunday Elom

A Nigerian Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has restricted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources (MPR) and the National Petroleum Investment & Management Respondent Services (NAPIMS) from allocating crude oil to Addax Oil Exploration Plc.

The court made the injunction following a motion for Mareva Injunction filed by the counsel to the federal government, Romeo Ese Michael of D.A Awosika (SAN) and Co.

In the suit, the federal government and the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) are the plaintiffs with Addax Petroleum Development of (Nigeria) Limited and Addax Petroleum Exploration (Nigeria) Limited are the first and second defendants/respondents, while NNPC, ministry of petroleum resources (MPR), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and NAPIMS are the third, fourth, fifth and sixth respondents respectively.

Issuing the order, Justice Tijjani Ringim held that Addax Oil Exploration Plc. should not be allocated crude oil explored from OMLS 123, 124, 126 and 137 as stipulated in the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) of 1998 between the Addax and NNPC.

Justice Ringim concurred with the federal government which claimed that Addax Petroleum is taking steps to liquidate some of its subsidiaries in Nigeria.

According to the Judge, “It will serve the interest of justice if this application is granted because the applicant has established that there is fear of dissipating the rest before the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“I find that this application is meritorious and the same ought to be granted. Accordingly, it is hereby granted as prayed.”

However, Justice Ringim ordered the federal government to swear to an affidavit that it would indemnify the defendants in the event that it misled the court to grant the injunction.

Before issuing the restriction order, the judge had earlier dismissed the defendants’ notice of preliminary objection filed through their counsel I.O Olateru-Olagbegi.

The Judge held that the suit was properly filed and should be allowed to be heard at trial and adjourned till March 21, 2022 for mention.

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