Judiciary

OML 29 suit: 2 Bayelsa communities seek to join

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Two more communities on Friday applied to be joined in the ongoing litigation by Nembe Communities, hosts to Oil Mining Lease (OML 29) over the adverse impact of oil exploration on them..

The OML, was supposed to be renewed on June 30.

A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa had on June 24 declined an application to halt the renewal of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 pending, the determination of a suit by Nembe communities in Bayelsa.

The OML 29 host communities are seeking an environmental 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.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Counsel to the parties seeking to join the suit. Mr D.O. Abba urged the court to grant the pending application which was supported by a 24 paragraph affidavit.

Justice Awogboro Abimbola,  who heard four pending applications to be joined in the suit from Bayelsa communities on Sept 27, resolved to consolidate all the applications for joinders and rule on them.

Abimbola adjourned the case until Oct. 19 for ruling on the pending applications to be joined.

The lease expired 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

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 the 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.

Nigeria News Agency 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” (NAN)


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(NAN)

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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