THE discordant tune from the Federal Government over the recovery of $62 billion oil revenue, sanctioned by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, is about resulting in fresh litigation.
Femi Falana, a senior advocate, has fired a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, reminding him of the apex court judgment and why anything less than full execution would not be unacceptable.
Falana in the letter titled, ‘Request for compliance with judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in suit no SC. 964/2016 between Akwa Ibom and 2 others Vs. Attorney General of the Federation’ said, “We are Solicitors to Professor Omotoye Olorode and Jaye Gaskia of the Peoples Alternative Political Movement (PAPM) on whose behalf we write this letter.
“Our clients have instructed us to remind you that the Federal Government has not enforced the above-mentioned judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered on October 20, 2018.
“In the said judgment, the apex court had directed the Federal Government to immediately take steps to recover all revenues lost to oil-exploring and exploiting companies due to wrong profit-sharing formula since August 2003.
“Based on the aforesaid judgment, you did request for the immediate payment of the sum of $62 billion owed by the six international oil companies with joint operating agreements with the NNPC namely Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Agip Oil Company, Total, Elf Nigeria and Pan Ocean Oil Company.
“But to the utter dismay of our clients, Mr Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, publicly stated that “Well, we have started discussions. Let us consider that as a lost opportunity, the money was not in a cupboard. They have taken it. Nobody can bring out that kind of money. I mean we can’t get $62 billion. We can maybe get something from them but not $62 billion. It’s an opportunity we have lost. We have already started discussions with them but what is clear is that it is a lost opportunity really.
“In view of the foregoing, we have the instructions of our client to request you to use your good offices to ensure that the said sum of $62 billion is recovered from the international oil companies and paid into the federation account without any further delay.
“However, if you fail or refuse to accede to the request of our client we shall not hesitate to approach the Federal High Court to seek an order to compel you to comply with the judgment of the Supreme Court in accordance with section 287(1) of the constitution which provides that ‘The decisions of the Supreme Court shall be enforced in any part of the federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Supreme Court.’