Ada Adesomoju, Abuja
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday rejected the objection of the federal government, Shell Nigeria Exploration and the Nigeria Agip Exploration Company to hearing a lawsuit seeking the return of the oil lease 245, originally awarded to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
The lawsuit was filed by Mohammed Abacha, the son of the late head of state, General Sani Abacha.
Mohammed claimed to be the majority shareholder of the controversial firm, adding that the subsequent transfer of OPL 245 to Shell and Agip was without his approval.
Deciding on the defendants’ objection to the lawsuit, Judge Binta Nyako confirmed that the court had jurisdiction to hear the case.
It also ruled that the statute of limitations for the lawsuit was statute-barred because it was not covered by the Civil Servants Protection Act.
She added that the prosecutor had rightly included the oil minister as the defendant, adding that the lawsuit did not constitute an abuse of court proceedings.
Judge Nyako called until March 9 to hear the basic lawsuit.
The defendants in the lawsuit are the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep Ltd, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Nigerian Agip Exploration Company Ltd and former Oil Minister Dan Etete.
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