The Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa on Monday declined an application to halt the renewal of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 pending, the determination of a suit by Nembe communities in Bayelsa.
Specifically, the communities are seeking an environment audit of the impact of the oil field on the host communities and the implementation of the social obligations of the host communities by the operator of the oil block amongst others.
The lease will expire on June 30, while the operator of the oilfields had commenced renewal formalities with the payment of 82 million dollars to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
Justice Awogboro Abimbola, in a ruling declined to grant the application filed by Lead Counsel to the Plaintiffs, Mr Iniruo Wills.
Abimbola adjourned the case until Sept 27 to hear applications of parties seeking to join the suit.
She regretted that she was unable to take the applications to be joined in the suit, saying she had 10 pending judgments to deliver before the court goes on vacation on July 3.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that some 40 chiefs from Nembe communities seeking to join the suit besieged the court premises as early as 8 a.m.
The plaintiffs are Ikaonaworio Eferebo-Igoma, Iyerite Chiefson Awululu-Atubu, Ayebaesin Edoghotu-Omoh, Markson Amaegbe-Orutari, B.C. Benwari-Yousuo and Doibo Evans representing OML 29 host communities.
The defendants are Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
Others are Aiteo Exploration and Production Ltd, Attorney-General of Bayelsa and The Deeds Registrar, Bayelsa Ministry of Lands.
Members of Ogbolomabiri in Nembe and adjourning communities had earlier filed applications for joinder in the matter.
NAN reports that Shell Petroleum Development Company in 2015, divested its equity in OML 29 and transferred its interest in the oil block, including NCTL for 1.7 billion dollars to Aiteo.
However, the host community, said the divestment was done “without resolving the untold negative impact of their operations on the people”
edited by Sadiya Hamza