Court Dismisses ‘Notice Of Preliminary Objection’ Filed By Delta State Government, Chevron, Others  For Lacking Merit

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    By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri

    The High Court of Justice, Warri Judicial Division has
    dismissed a “Notice of Preliminary Objection” filed by the
    Delta State Government, Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL and
    eleven others including Chief Ayiri Emami for ‘lacking merit’.

     

    Authentic News Daily Observed that delivering judgement in the case with Suit No.W/479/2012, Justice P.O. Onajite-Kuejubola (Mrs.) said, “All in all, the  issues raised for determination are resolved in favour of the
    claimants/respondents against defendants/applicants herein, save and except issues(3) wherein no finding was
    categorically made. I hold that, this Court has jurisdiction to entertain this suit filed by the claimants/respondents herein.”

     

    “Consequently therefore, the notice of preliminary objection
    filed by the Defendants/applicants herein dated and filed on
    29th March 2017 is herein dismissed for lacking in merit.”
    The judgement is sequel to a thirty days originating summons instituted by Peter Aihiokha Esq and Mr. Olukunle
    Ogheneovo Edun Esq of Aihiokhai&Aihiokhai and Tri-Led
    Partners LP respectively on behalf of Chief(Mrs.) Rita Lori
    Ogbebor and four others including Chief.C.C. Omolubi
    Newuwumi, Mr. Ebigbeyi Awani Kennedy, Mr. Eric Mene
    and Aginejune Agbonekuya on behalf of twenty seven Itsekiri Oil Producing Communities against the Delta State
    Government, Chevron Nigeria Limited,CNL, Steve
    Jemerigbe, Deacon Jenimah Dasapah, Chief Ayiri Emami,
    Deacon Daniel, Evang. Tony Aderojo, Austin Oniyesan,
    Yomere Rolland, Moses Fregene and Canaan Ajangbawa.
    In the originating summons, Chief (Mrs.) Ogbebor and the four others had approached the court  whether the defendants is not under a legal obligation to provide information by virtue of the Provisions of Sections 1(1),(3),3(1) and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

    Chief Ogbebor and the four others had severally and jointly
    claimed against the defendants a declaration that the
    “approved and executed copy of the Global Memorandum of Understanding,GMoU between CNL, the purported Itsekiri Oil & Gas Producing/Impacted Communities Development Council and the Delta State Government 2006”, “Subsequent Global Memorandum of Understanding for the year 2007 and till date(Onshore and Offshore Operations”, “The total sum of money paid into GMoU accounts from 2005 till date(Onshore&Offshore Operations” , “The total sum of money paid into the purported Administrative and Expenses Account from the year 2005 and till date”, “List and locations of projects executed so far from 2006 and till date funded from the said GMoU accounts (Onshore and Offshore Operations) , “The account particulars/ details and signatories to the GMoU account and all related accounts from 2006 till date”.

     

    Chief (Mrs.) Ogbebor and the four others in the originating summons also sought from the court, a declaration that by virtue of the Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU 2006 and 2012 purportedly executed by the defendants and which provides that the purported agreement is not legally binding; same cannot be used as a basis for payment of monies, award of contracts for the development of the 2nd defendant’s host communities without the consent and participation of the individual host communities of the 2nd defendant.

     

    ” A declaration that the Itsekiri Oil & Gas Producing/Impacted Communities Development Council are not bodies known to law.

     

    ” An order compelling the defendants to recall, refund or recover the sum of N2,000,000,000.00 (Two billion naira) or all such monies paid by the 2nd defendant to any person or group of persons or corporate body, pursuant to the purported Global Memorandum of Understanding,GMoU 2006 and 2012 GMoU’s including onshore and offshore operations till date within 7 days from the date of delivery of judgment in this case and same paid into an interest yielding account to be opened and operated by the 27 host communities of the 2nd defendant or their nominees.”

     

    “An order compelling the defendants to provide to the claimants within 7 days from the date of judgement in this case a comprehensive account including bank statements of accounts of all sums and beneficiaries thereof paid pursuant to the provisions of the Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU 2006 and 2012 (Onshore and Offshore Operations)”, An order of perpetual I junction restraining the 2nd defendant by itself and/or through its privies, agents, officials, subordinates, proxies, contractors or under any other guise from further giving, allocating awarding and/or sharing all or any money, benefits, privileges and/or rights due to the 27 host communities of the 2nd defendant to the 3rs to 11th defendants /respondents (Itsekiri Oil &Gas Producing /Impacted Communities Development Council and/or “Itsekiri Oil &Gas Producing /Impacted Communities Development Committee) or any member of the said group or any other person under the guise of operating the Global Memorandum of Understanding 2006 and 2012 (onshore and offshore operations) or any other understanding and/or agreement that would affect the operations of the 2nd defendant in any of the 27 oil/gas host/impacted communities in Itsekiri nation of Delta State.

     

    The defendants had in a “Preliminary Objection” dated and filed on 29th March 2017 pursuant to Section 6(6) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution as Amended prayed the court for an order striking out the entire suit on the grounds that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit in that the claimant/respondents have failed to fulfill the fundamental conditions required to evoke the adjudicating powers of the court in the circumstances of this case.

     

    That,” the suit is improperly instituted and the claimants/respondents are not entities known to law, not being juristic persons in a representative capacity”, “that there is no reasonable cause of action disclosed against the 3rd to 9th&11th defendants /Applicants in the circumstances of this case and if all same is stature barred.”

    1 COMMENT

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