By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, deferred ruling on bid by two multinational oil giants, Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Company Ltd and Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd, to retain ownership of the disputed Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245, pending their trial over alleged $1.2 billion fraud.
Justice John Tsoho adjourned the ruling till March 17, following application by Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, to be joined as an interested party in the court action.
Shell and Agip had in separate applications filed through their lawyers, Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi, SAN, and Mr. Babatunde Fagbohunlu, SAN, queried the legality of an order the high court made on January 26, which granted the Federal Government interim ownership of OPL 245, regarded as one of the biggest oil blocs in Africa.
Meanwhile, though the court had already heard and adjourned applications by both Shell and Agip for ruling, at the resumed sitting, yesterday, Malabu Oil and Gas, through its lawyer, Mr. Abdullahi Haruna, insisted that its right was at stake.
The firm contended that it had vested right in the disputed oil block, adding that it would be affected by whatever decision the court arrived at.
It, therefore, prayed the court to allow it to also present its own side of the case before ruling on the applications by Shell and Agip.
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