Court restrains FG from issuing licences for marginal oilfields in Niger Delta
A federal high court in Yenagoa has restrained the federal government from issuing licences for marginal oilfields in the Niger Delta.
Marginal fields are smaller oil blocks developed by indigenous companies.
They are often discovered on an IOC-owned block where there has been no activity in at least 10 years.
In the court ruling on Thursday, Isa Dashen, the presiding judge, granted the restraining order, pending the determination of a suit.
In 2020, some Ijaw leaders approached the court seeking to halt licensing on marginal oil fields located in their areas.
But the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), now the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), announced bid winners on June 1, 2021.
Plaintiffs in the suit marked PHC/YEN/CS/81/2020 are Brown Agu (Opu Agu VIII), Rosemary John-Oduone, president, Ijaw Women Connect and Femowei Friend on behalf of themselves and the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality.
On the other hand, Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Muhammadu Buhari, minister of petroleum resources and Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, are defendants in the suit.
The court granted that the respondents be restrained from further advertising and receiving bids in respect of the marginal fields.
It also restrained the government from approving licences.
The court fixed June 8 for hearing and ruling on pending motions.