$1.3bn Malabu case: Abacha’s family kicks against FG’s claim on resolution

 

The family of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha has dispelled claims by the federal government that all court cases relating to ownership of the oil exploration company, Malabu Oil and Gas, have been resolved.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri was quoted to have made the claim at a recent public function in Abuja.

Lokpobiri was reported to have said that the ongoing negotiations to end the disputes surrounding Oil Mining License (OML 245) have been concluded and that the oil block will resume production in the national interest.

The matter is in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/201/2017 between Malabu Oil and Gas and federal government and others.  

But in a protest letter written to puncture the claims, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Reuben Okpanachi Atabo SAN, said the Abacha family has issued a 14-day ultimatum to Lokpobiri to withdraw the alleged false claim or be slammed with contempt of court charges. 

In the protest letter received at the AGF and Oil Minister’s offices on July 5, the Abacha family averred that the claim made at the opening session of the “Nigerian Oil and Gas Energy Week” by Lokpobiri was false, spurious, unfounded and an affront to the courts where several cases on ownership of Malabu Oil and Gas are still pending.

Malabu Oil and Gas company belonging to the Abacha family was said to be the owner of deepwater OML 245 oil block located in the southern Niger Delta but in 2001, the federal government under former President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked Malabu’s license to the oil block. 

In 2006, Malabu challenged the revocation in court but the matter was settled out-of-court with the government under former President Umaru Yar’Adua.

The protest letter by the senior lawyer to the Oil Minister read in part “We act as Solicitors to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Abacha and Pecos Energy Ltd and on whose authority and firm instructions we write to you.

“Our Clients’ attention has been drawn to the remarks made by the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources at the opening session of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Energy Week to the effect that all legal issues relating to OPL 245 have been resolved and that the coast is clear for investors to come and invest in OML 245.