A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Supreme Court adjourns hearing on Brittania-U, Chevron, Seplat case to May 18

24 March 2015, Lagos – The  Supreme  Court  on Monday  could not hear  the appeal in the case  involving  Brittania-U Nigeria Limited and  Chevron  Nigeria Limited, as the apex court stated  that  the  appeal cannot be heard when the  issue in litigation before the court had allegedly been disposed  off by the  respondent during the pendency of the appeal.

ChevronWhen the case was called, counsel to all the parties were   in court but the main appeal was not heard  because of the alleged developments after the last adjourned date, which was February 24, 2015

Rickey Tarfa (SAN); Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) and  six  other  junior  lawyers  represented  the appellant, Brittania-U, while D.D.Dodo (SAN) appeared  for Seplat Petroleum  Development Company Plc, which is the  first respondent.

Uche Nwokedi (SAN) appeared for Chevron Nigeria and Chevron Corporation of the United States, the second respondent and the fourth respondent, while A.V. Etuwewe represented the third and fifth respondents.

The appellant’s counsel informed  the court that they were  compelled to file a motion for a mandatory restorative order to reverse  overreaching  steps  allegedly  taken by   Chevron and Seplat  to get the  Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke   to  consent  to the  divestment  of  Chevron’s 40 per cent interest in Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 53 and 55 , despite  the appeal that was pending in court.

Dodo on his part informed  the   court  that they had   a motion to amend  their respondent  brief while  A.V Etuwewe applied  for extension of  time to regularise  his  own respondent  brief.

The  two  motions were granted unopposed but a cost of  N50,000 was awarded  against  the third and  fifth  respondents  in  favour  of the appellant.

The  appellant thereafter   informed  the court of   their latest  motion filed  on  March 19, 2015  asking  the court  to invoke  its  disciplinary jurisdiction to  reverse  certain   actions allegedly taken  by  Seplat  and  Chevron to  overreach  the subject  matter of the appeal before  the court.

The appellant is praying   for four prayers, including a mandatory/restoration order setting aside the first respondent’s written request of July 30, 2014 to the Petroleum Minister for ministerial consent validating the transaction; and a mandatory/restorative order setting aside the purported ministerial consent obtained by the second respondent in favour of the first Respondent in flagrant disregard of the admonition to counsel by the apex court during proceedings of February 24, 2015.

The appellant is also praying for a mandatory/restorative order setting aside the purported or alleged transfer of the three oil blocks and all steps taken so far by the respondents to overreach the outcome of the appeal and a mandatory/restorative order reversing and re-vesting the purported divested title of the three blocks in the 2nd respondent pending the outcome of the extant appeal.

The court after going through the motion decided that the appeal would be stepped down until the court disposes of the motion seeking mandatory restorative orders sought by the appellant.

At this stage, the respondents said they were served with further affidavits in respect of the mandatory restorative orders on March 20, 2015 and that they needed time to respond to them.

The court granted the respondents 10 days to file their counter affidavits to the appellant’s motion for mandatory restorative order and further affidavits in support.

The court also ordered parties to file and exchange written addresses within at 14 days intervals in respect of the motion and adjourned hearing to May 18, 2015.

Tarfa drew the attention of the court to the further affidavits filed showing that Chevron had concluded plans to hand over the assets to Seplat by April 16,  2015.

But  Nwokedi said  the  newspapers’ report was neither  here  nor  there and  that  the court should not go by  it.

The  court  however  noted  that  since   the  respondents were yet  to  file  their  counter affidavits, it would  prefer not  to go  into the merit  of the motion but that  whoever  would overreach the motion does  it  at its own  peril.



– This Day

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