A Federal court in Lagos on Tuesday turned down an application to vacate an interim injunction it granted last month, directing 20 Nigerian banks to block the accounts of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and its subsidiaries.
In her ruling, Judge Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, also summoned three of the banks’ secretaries and chief financial officers for allegedly disobeying the order made on February 17.
The affected banks and their officials include Citi Bank Ltd, its Company Secretary Sola Fagbure and Chief Financial Officer, Sharaf Mohammed; First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, its Company Secretary Irene Netimah and Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Iyamabo; and United Bank For Africa (UBA) Plc, its Company Secretary Bill Andrew Odum and Chief Financial Officer, Ebenezer Kolawole.
The judge ordered them to appear before it on the next adjourned date, on March 29, adding that she would issue a warrant for their arrest if they fail to appear.
TOS News gathered Aiteo Eastern E&P Company had filed a suit before the court accusing SPDC and its subsidiaries of illegally diverting 16 million barrels of crude oil. The company put the value of the diverted products to about $3 billion.
Joined with SPDC as respondents in the suit are Royal Dutch Shell Plc; Shell Western Supply and Trading Ltd; Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Ltd; and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd.
Aiteo, an indigenous oil firm, acquired SPDC’s OML 29 after the latter’s divestment of its 45 per cent stake in 2015. OML 29 includes the 97-kilometre Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) with a capacity to lift about 180,000 barrels of crude per day from oilfields in Rivers and Bayelsa to the Bonny terminal.
The indigenous oil firm claims there are problems with the trunk line and that Shell undercounted its oil exports.
SPDC had, however, described the claims as “factually incorrect,” saying there was a directive from the Department of Petroleum Resources to implement a crude re-allocation programme between injectors into the multinational’s joint venture Trans Niger Pipeline and injectors into the NCTL.