THERE was confusion at an Italian court, Monday, as two lawyers purportedly representing the Federal Government surfaced in the trial of Shell and Eni executives over alleged corruption in Nigeria.
Online portal, Premium Times, gathered that although the Italian court postponed to May 14 the start of the trial, one of the lawyers, a certain Mr. Sedu, declared his intention not to ask for damages from Eni.
It reported on Saturday the expected postponement of the trial and possible transfer to another court.
The trial was originally expected to start Monday but sources said the court might not be able to deal with the case because it had too many other cases.
The case involves the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield – one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks – for about $1.3 billion.
Yesterday, two lawyers showed up in Milan to represent Nigeria, raising suspicion that the nation may not be recognised in the trial once the case comes up for hearing.
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, in a statement condemned the development, saying it exposed the nation to ridicule.
“HEDA was today shocked and deeply disturbed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s confused appearance before the opening of the Italian trial of Shell and Eni for its role in the Malabu Scandal,” the statement said.