Aiteo demands banks appearance in ‘oil theft’ case

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The Federal High Court in Lagos will on Tuesday decide three applications relating to its interim order directing 20 banks to block Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Ltd accounts for alleged crude oil diversion.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo fixed the date after hearing arguments from Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) and Emeka Ozoani (SAN) for Aiteo Eastern E & P Company Ltd, Adewale Atake (SAN) for SPDC, Olawale Akoni (SAN) for the banks and Chukwuka Ikwuazom (SAN), for four Shell subsidiaries.

AITEO Eastern E & P Company Ltd is the plaintiff/applicant in the suit; SPDC Ltd is the first defendant.

Justice Oguntoyinbo made the order on January 25 following an application by Aiteo Eastern E & P in its bid to recover the cash value of its “more than 16 million barrels of crude oil” allegedly diverted by Shell.

The defendants filed an application seeking to discharge the order.

Aiteo initiated committal proceedings against two banks and their officials for allegedly “interfering, obstructing and/or frustrating compliance with the interim Mareva orders”.

Pinheiro said it was “necessary that the named persons in committal proceedings (the bank officials) be present in court” because the proceedings “attached to their person”.

Akoni prayed the court to make an order vacating the ex-parte order because, according to him, it lapsed 14 days after it was made.

Ikwuazom drew the court’s attention to a pending application challenging its jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The judge held: “The avalanche of submissions cannot be wished away. The court owes all parties the duty of careful consideration of all authorities cited.”

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The party, in a statement by the Secretary of its  Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), James Akpanudoedehe applauded the release of the schoolgirls.

It said: “APC is pleased with the release of students… We rejoice with family members and loved ones over the safe return of the schoolgirls.

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) called on security agencies to  compel Governor Bello Matawalle to  reveal the identities of the kidnappers of the students.

The apex northern socio-cultural stated that if  Matawalle fails to name the abductors, he should be treated as an accomplice.

The governor was quoted to have told some  Emirs who paid a sympathy visit that he knew the identities of the kidnappers and that if he revealed them, Nigerians would be shocked.

The ACF in a statement yesterday by its National Chairman Chief Audu Ogbe,  said  Matawalle must stop embarrassing the North and the  country with careless statements on serious issue like kidnappings of schoolchildren.

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