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‘Afren, Lekoil failed to obtain consent’ — Optimum Petroleum speaks on transfer of OPL 310  

‘Afren, Lekoil failed to obtain consent’ — Optimum Petroleum speaks on transfer of OPL 310  
June 05
11:17 2023

Optimum Petroleum Development Company Limited (OPDCL) says Afren Investment Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited failed to obtain its consent before the purported transfer of shares to Lekoil Nigeria Limited (LNL) and 22.86 percent participating interest in oil prospecting licence (OPL) 310.

Clearing the air on the dispute, OPDCL said the companies also failed to get the consent of the minister of petroleum for the deal.

In a rejoinder, Optimum noted that on March 28, 2019, a federal high court in Lagos, presided over M.S. Hassan, the judge, ruled in favour of the company and the petroleum minister in suit number FHC/L/CS/482/18.

In a statement signed by Ibrahim Bunu, chairman of Optimum, the company said the court, in its ruling, dismissed the suit as lacking in merit when it found that Lekoil had not acquired the shares of Afren, and as a result, interest in OPL310 as its purported acquisition was “invalid”.


Bunu added that by the judgment, the consent of the petroleum minister and Optimum to the transfer of shares of Afren to Lekoil (and indirectly the 22.86 percent interest in OPL 310) could not be obtained by default.

“Lekoil and Afren appealed this judgment to the court of appeal, Lagos division but later withdrew the appeal by a notice of withdrawal of appeal filed on May 16, 2019 at the court of appeal, thereby, confirming the judgment as final, valid, subsisting, and binding,” the statement reads.

Bunu also expressed concern over a report that “misrepresented facts “ of the court proceedings


“Aside from the fact that no name or position in Afren was indicated as the author of the said publications on behalf of Afren, the said publications concealed or otherwise misrepresented material facts concerning the proceedings before the court and the subsistence of an ex parte order of injunction granted by the court on March 30th 2023 in another suit initiated by the same plaintiffs after the said final judgment of the same court on 28th March 2019, to wit: suit number FHC/L/CS/563/2023 – Afren & Lekoil v. Optimum.”

Bunu said the company was constrained to release the rejoinder to set the records straight. 

The Optimum chairman noted that the said publications concealed the fact that after the company was served with the ex parte order of injunction on April 6, 2023, Optimum filed and served a motion on notice to discharge the order on  April 17, 2023, and the motion on notice “was not heard or argued in court within 14 days of filing it”.

“Therefore, in line with the provisions of order 26 rule 10(1)(a) and (3) of the federal high court (civil procedure) rules 2019, the said ex parte order of injunction automatically expired or lapsed by operation of law within 14 days of the filing of the motion on notice to discharge the ex parte order, that is, May 2nd 2023,” Bunu said. 


The company noted that under order 26 rule 10(1)(a) and (3) of the federal high court (civil procedure) rules 2019, an ex parte order shall not last for more than 14 days after the person affected party has applied for it to be discharged.

In addition, he said the situation can only take place where a motion to discharge the ex parte order is not heard or argued within 14 days of being filed, saying the order shall lapse.


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