By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA— Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday persuaded the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to strike out its name from a suit the eldest son of late military head of state, Mohammed Abacha, filed to reclaim ownership of disputed Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245.
EFCC, through its lawyer, Mr. J. A. Ojogbane, told the court that the suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/201/2017, did not disclose any cause of action against it.
The agency maintained that it was not in anyway linked with any of the reliefs the plaintiff is seeking from the court with respect to the controversial oil block.
It, therefore, moved the court to uphold a preliminary objection it filed on May 18, 2017, asking to be de-listed as one of the defendants in OPL 245 ownership dispute.
Following a no-objection stance by Abacha’s lawyer, Mr. J. A. Achimugu, who said he had expected a stiffer opposition from the commission, Justice John Tsoho, in a bench ruling, struck out the EFCC as the 6th defendant in the matter.
However, the court fixed April 23 to hear the preliminary objection the Federal Government filed to abort Abacha’s bid to reclaim OPL 245.
Justice Tsoho said he would consolidate every other objection against the suit and hear them together.
The Federal Government had in a process filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, asked the court to dismiss or strike out the suit wherein Abacha was claiming ownership of Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.
Aside Federal Government and Minister of Petroleum Resources, who are 1st and 2nd defendants in the matter, other defendants equally challenging the competence of the suit are Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Company Ltd and and Chief Dan Etete.