There are five suits before the Abuja and Lagos divisions of the Federal High Court stalling the Federal Government’s move to recover about $62bn from international oil companies.
Without the resolution of the matter either through a final determination by the courts or an out-of-court settlement by the parties, it may not be possible for the Federal Government to recover the projected revenue.
The affected companies which initiated the suits to block the moves by the Federal Government to recover the huge revenue from them include Equinor Nigeria Energy Company Limited, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (Offshore East).
The rest are the CNOOC Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited and the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited.
The firms had filed the suit after the Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, wrote them demanding various sums of money on the basis of an October 17, 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court.
The apex court had in the said judgment ordered the Federal Government to immediately take steps to recover all revenues lost to oil-exploring and exploiting companies due to wrong profit-sharing formula since August 2003.
But the pending suits filed by the affected companies challenging their liability to pay the money may stall the recovery process.
Our correspondent learnt that Equinor Nigeria Energy Company Limited filed the suit FHC/L/CS/155/19 in the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court. The suit marked FHC/L/CS/156/19 was filed by Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited.
Another one marked FHC/L/CS/157/19 was filed by Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (Offshore East).
CNOOC Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited filed the one marked FHC/L/CS/158/19.More in Home
The only one pending in the Abuja Division of the court which is marked FHC/ABJ/154/19 was filed by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the AGF are the defendants in all the cases.
The Supreme Court had on October 17, 2018 ordered the Federal Government to immediately take steps to recover all revenues lost to oil exploring and exploiting companies due to wrong profit-sharing formula.
A seven-man panel of the apex court led by then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, made the order in a consent judgment in respect of a suit filed by three states, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom, against the Federal Government in 2016.
The states, through their attorneys-general and the Federal Government, through the Attorney-General of the Federation, had on April 6, 2018 filed the terms of settlement which the apex court adopted as its judgment on Wednesday.
The terms of settlement was signed by the attorneys-general of the three states, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) for Rivers; Kemasuode Wogu for Bayelsa; and Uwemedimo Nwoko for Akwa Ibom; and the lead counsel for the AGF, Mr Lucius Nwosu.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata, signed as the witness.
By virtue of the agreement between the three states and the Federal Government leading to the consent judgment of the apex court, the AGF and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) is to work with the three states to “immediately set up a body and the necessary mechanism for recovery” of all the lost revenue since August 2003.