The Federal High Court in Lagos has refused to stop the Federal Government from auctioning 10 revoked marginal oilfields.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke dismissed an application for interlocutory injunction filed by the fields’ operators.
He refused prayers for an interlocutory injunction while delivering a ruling on the application filed by the oilfield operators.
They sued the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Auwalu Sarki.
The judge held that the defendants failed to satisfy him as to why the order ought to be granted.
The applicants, in the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/597/2020, are Associated Oil & Gas Limited, Dansaki Petroleum Limited, Bayelsa Oil Limited and Bicta Energy and Management Systems Limited.
The others are Del-Sigma Petroleum Nigeria Limited, Sogenal Energy Limited, Independent Energy Limited, Sahara Energy, African Oil & Gas Limited and Goland Petroleum Limited.
Justice Aneke, citing several authorities, refused their application for an injunction and dismissed it lacking in merit.
The judge had on May 29 refused to grant an ex-parte application seeking to restrain the defendants from withdrawing the marginal oilfield licenses.
Instead, the judge directed that the application, filed by Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and Mr Uche Nwokedi (SAN), be served on the defendants ahead of a June 3 hearing.
Justice Aneke ordered that the defendants be served at their office on 7, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
However, the applicants allegedly served the processes through email.
On June 3, when the application for the interlocutory injunction came up for hearing, the defendants were absent, and the court granted the application as prayed.
The defendants, through their counsel Mr Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN), Dr Adewale Olawoyin (SAN) and Adebayo Ologe, sought to reverse the order of injunction on the ground that they were not served with the court processes before the ruling.
They also argued that, even if the applicants were to serve the defendants via email, it must be through a court order.
Justice Aneke subsequently set aside the orders made on June 3 and directed that the application for interlocutory injunction be heard afresh after service of relevant court processes on the defendants.
As directed by the court, the application for interlocutory injunction was heard afresh on July 20.
After the ruling of July 24, Justice Aneke adjourned until October 29 for the hearing of the substantive suit.