A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday adjourned until May 28 hearing of a $55 million debt recovery suit by the Federal Government against Agip Oil Company Ltd. Oil The government had filed several suits seeking to recover about 12 billion dollars in missing crude oil revenue from some international oil companies.
The Government was represented by Mr. Chineme Onuoma, while the defendant was represented by Mr Oladimeji Ojo. At the commencement of the trial on Wednesday, Onuoma told the Court that the case was scheduled for trial and that the plaintiff was ready but that the defendant had a pending motion before the court. The defendant said that their motion was to amend their previously amended statement of defence. Ojo informed the court that it was necessary for the defendant to amend their documents and include other vital documents in their defence.
The motion was moved and The court granted the application, but expressed displeasure that since the case was brought before it there had been so many applications which had stalled the progress of the suit. The case was consequently adjourned until May 28 for trial.
This suit was one of several suits filed by the Federal Government (FG) through its counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu SAN in 2015 against some International Oil Companies (IOCs).
It is an action to recover lost revenues arising from undeclared and under-declared crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world. The FG had also sued Total E&P Nig. Plc, alleging that the oil company under-declared the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014. It accused the oil company of shortchanging it to the tune of 245 million dollars by allegedly shipping several barrels of crude oil out of Nigeria without making due remittance to the government. The FG also filed similar suits against Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd among others.