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Host Communities Warn Shell Against Disobeying Court Order

Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Ltd has been advised to obey the court order restraining it against selling its properties in Nigeria, pending the determination of the suit filed by Prince Afolabi Akinruntan and 1,215 others against the oil producing company.

A letter signed by Paul Harris Ogbole, SAN of Ndarani, SAN & Co frowned at the recent publication of the oil company on its website on January 19, 2024 and other media of its decision to “sell its Nigerian onshore subsidiary, SPDC, Shell Global” as contemptuous and flagrant disobedience of the court order and warned public to be careful in falling into the illegal act.

Justice T. B. Adegoke of the Federal High Court, Akure had on September 9, 2023 while ruling on the ex-parte application filed by the plaintiffs, restrained the oil company from selling any of its properties pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

The court also ruled that the ex-parte order will last pending the determination of the suit and it shall be given accelerated hearing.The legal luminary in the letter addressed to Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited, Shell International Company Limited, Shell International Exploration and Production Limited, Hon Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), all prospective buyers and general public said: “The attention of the plaintiffs have been drawn to an online publication on the global official website of Shell dated the 16th day of January, 2024 in London captioned: ‘Shell agrees to sell Nigerian onshore subsidiary, SPDC | Shell Global’ and on other notable online, print and electronic media.

“Information in this report indicates that Shell has reached an agreement to sell its Nigerian onshore subsidiary; The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), to Renaissance, a consortium of five companies comprising four exploration and production companies based in Nigeria and an international energy group known as ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, Waltersmith and Petrolin. The completion of the transaction is subject to approvals by the Federal Government of Nigeria upon satisfying other laid down conditions.

“In pursuance of a pending case, on the 28th day of September, 2023, His Lordship; Honourable Justice T.B. Adegoke granted Order of MAREVA INJUNCTION in the pending suit, restraining the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants/Respondents, i.e. Shell Petroleum Development of Nigeria Limited, Shell International Company Limited and Shell International Exploration and Production Ltd from selling, allocating, vandalizing and or disposing of any of their assets/properties including official structures, oil wells, oil fields, installations, vehicles, equipment, investments, offshore or onshore or any of its properties howsoever described in any part of the Territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pending the hearing and the determination of the substantive suit.

“It is therefore, contemptuous, strange and indeed shocking that having been served and made aware of the valid and subsisting order of court (quite apart from being represented in court), shell would readily but in complete disregard to the law and the institution of the Judiciary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, sell, attempt to sell, advertise for sale or in any way or manner howsoever alienate, divest of their interest, assets or stake, wholly or partially in Nigeria.”

“The Federal Government and entire public are also by this notice notified to be at high alert of this hasty attempt to circumvent the rule of law and render nugatory the decision of the Nigerian Court in the pending litigation.”

The plaintiffs are in court to claim compensation, remediation and rehabilitation of their environment, farm land, fish ponds, engine boats machineries, etc destroyed by oil spill, rain acid and pollution since 2011 to 2019 and which still continues by the activities of the defendants.

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