Trouble looms as 20 groups sue FG over Port Harcourt refinery concession

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership Campaign, Centre for Public Accountability and 18 other rights groups have dragged the Federal Government to court over concession of the Port Harcourt refinery.

The groups stated that the concession of the refinery was illegal.

Listed as defendants in the suit filed at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja were the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Agip Oil and Oando Plc.

The civil organisations are asking the court to declare that the decision by the Federal Government to reach an agreement with Agip and Oando to repair, operate and maintain the Port Harcourt refinery is a concession of the refinery.

They also want the court to declare the concession illegal because the government did not take cognizance of the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission in view of the provisions of sections 4(1) and (2), 5(a) and (b) of the ICRC (Establishment, Etc) Act.

Similarly, the groups argued that the minister and the attorney general could not 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, 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.

Therefore, the groups said the court should make an order of injunction restraining the minister and attorney general, their agents from taking over the refinery without recourse to the provisions of the ICRC (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 Federal Government to enter into agreement with Agip and Oando does not amount to granting concession in view of the provisions of sections 4(1) and (2), 5(a) and (b) of the ICRC (Establishment, Etc) Act, 2005.

Among the 20 rights groups are: 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: 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. Punch

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