By Davies Iheamnachor
The Rivers State government has sealed and taken over the ownership of Kidney Island from Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
This was as the government secured the enforcement of its interest in the acquisition of 45 per cent equity stake in Oil Mining Lease, OML, 11, and the Island in Port Harcourt.
However, SPDC has dismissed the claim by the state government that it has taken over the facility and interest of the oil giant in OML11, adding that the matter was still in court.
Kelvin Ebiri,Special Assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike on Media, in a statement in Port Harcourt said the Island used by SPDC as their operational base in Port Harcourt, now belongs to the Rivers State government following a certificate of purchase registered in the Lands Registry as No. 6 at page 6 in Vol. 46, Port Harcourt.
Ebiri noted that the certificate of purchase was issued by the order of the High Court of Rivers State on July 23, 2019 and September 25, 2019 following the purchase of the facility.
Meanwhile, spokesperson, SPDC, Gbenga Odugbesan in a statement in respect of the government’s position said the move by the state government was premature.
Usugbesan said: “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has dismissed the purported takeover of Kidney Island asset of the SPDC Joint Venture in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State government in the exercise of rights purportedly acquired through a court auction process that is still the subject of ongoing appeals at the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt.
“Any purported exercise of rights allegedly acquired through that process including any attempt to take over or seal up the Kidney Island asset or other assets of the SPDC JV to satisfy claims in pending suits is premature and prejudicial to the ongoing court proceedings, and therefore not recognised.
“Under the Nigerian Petroleum Act, any acquisition or assignment of interests in a licence or lease would require the consent of the Minister of Petroleum. No such consent has been given in the case of the purported acquisition by the Rivers State Government.