Benedict Peters and AITEO Eastern E&P, an oil and gas liabilitty company, Wednesday, approached a Federal High, Abuja, to seek an interlocutory injunction to stop the Attorney General of Federal (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from enforcing Crown London ex-parte order, which made an interim forfeiture order of their properties in the United Kingdom.
AITEO is a Limited Liability Company, a major player in the upstream sector of the Nigerian oil industry, as well as the joint/operator of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, an asset which is jointly owned by it and the Federal Government, through the NNPC, which subscribes to 55% of the said asset..
It is also a joint operator of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, an asset which is jointly owned by the firm and the Federal Government through the NNPC, which subscribes 55 per cent of the said asset.
The Crown Court, sitting at Southwark, United Kingdom, Coram, His Honour Judge Beddoe, had on October 19, 2017, ordered an interim forfeiture of properties belonging to the plaintiffs.
The ex-parte application made by Peters, who is the alter ego of AITEO, is seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from effecting that interim forfeiture order.
Chief Wole Olanipeku (SAN), who led a team of other Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) for the applicants, urged the court to restraun the AGF and EFCC from enforcing the Crown Court order, saying if enforced, it would breach the fundamental human rights of their clients.
According to Chief Olanipeku: “The application for interloculotory injunction is supported by 19 paragraphs affidavit, four exhibits are attached, marked 1-4.”
He submitted that the first defendant (AGF) did not file counter affidavit to their application outside one filed by the second defendant (EFCC).
He held the counter affidavit counter affidavit by the second defendant “does not counter anything. What he did was to set out different cases and decided to address your Lordship on it.”
He held that as the first defendant did not file any counter affidavit, “It could be said that the second defendant cannot cry more than the bereaved. We pray the court to discountenance second defendant’s counter affidavit.
“We ask the court to grant our application,” he submitted.”
Kunke Oso, counsel to the first defendant said although the AGF did not file counter affidavit “we align ourselves with the second defendant.”
I. K.Latona, lawyer representing the second defendant said he was not unmindful of the 15 further affidavit filed by the plaintiffs
“A look through the further affidavit will reveal one thing which is of no consequent. It is a mere reliefs sought. Paragraphs 1-10 are inconsequential. Paragraph 10 is merely stating what is contain in writ of claims. They have no value, we urge your Lordship to discountenance them and concentrate on the motion on notice.
“The entire plaintiff application is grounded in speculation. The reliefs the plaintiffs are seeking are speculative.
The second ground is that they have not made out a case for the court to grant them injunctionw withoutt process.
It is on record that the same plaintiff (Benedict Peters) is the alter ego of AITEO.of other companies before your Lordship , incidentally before your lordship, the reliefs of that motion are the same.”
But Olanipeku replied suspicious of likely breach of the plaintiffs’ fundamental human rights were enough grounds to file an application, noting apprehension was a reasonable ground to file the application.
After listening to the submissions, Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned till February 9 for a ruling