THE Federal Government has been dragged before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to contest the concession of the Port Harcourt refinery, declaring the action as illegal.
Those listed as defendants in the suit delineated FHC/ABJ/CS/558/2017 are the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Agip Oil Company Ltd and Oando Plc
The 20 rights groups are Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Campaign for Democracy, Centre for Change, Nigerians Unite against Corruption, Grassroots Democratic Initiative, and Empower Africa for Change, Justice Forum Initiative and Anti-Corruption Crusaders, National Rebirth Movement
Others are the Centre for Public Accountability, Protest to Power Movement, Grassroots Power Point, Peoples’ Action for Democracy, Children Project, Beko Rights Klub, Centre for Cultural and Religious Rights, ISOKAN, Aluta Youth Collective, Gani Fawehinmi Solidarity Association and Freedom Alliance.
The groups are asking for a court declaration that the decision by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Attorney-General of the Federation to enter into an agreement with Agip Oil Company Ltd and Oando Plc to repair, operate and maintain the Port Harcourt refinery amounts to concession of the Port Harcourt refinery.
Also, they asked for a declaration that the decision of the minister and the attorney general to enter into an agreement with Agip and Oando to repair, operate and maintain the Port Harcourt refinery without recourse to the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission is illegal, null and void in view of the provisions of sections 4(1) and (2), 5(a) and (b) of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act.
That the minister and the Attorney General cannot enter into any agreement for the concession of the Port-Harcourt Refinery to Agip and Oando without a publication in at least three national newspapers having wide circulation in Nigeria, and such other means of circulation, inviting open competitive public bid for such project or contract approved under the Act and contractors applying/submitting bids and proposals.
The groups further asked for an order of injunction restraining the minister and Attorney General, their agents or privies assigns howsoever called from concessioning the Port-Harcourt Refinery without recourse to the provisions of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act, 2005 and such orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
Also, the groups asked the court to determine whether the decision of the minister and Attorney General to enter into agreement with Agip and Oando does not amount to granting concession in view of the provisions of sections4(1) and (2), 5(a) and (b) of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act, 2005?