TWO and half years after Chevron and others instituted an appeal against the judgment of a Federal High Court, Lagos which assumed jurisdiction to entertain a suit brought against them by Brittania-U Nigeria Limited over the divestment of Chevron interest in oil mining leases, OMLs 52, 53 and 55, the Court of Appeal, Lagos has fixed a date for hearing.
The three man panel led by Justice J. S. Ikyegh, after listening to the lawyers representing all the parties fixed June 5, 2017 for hearing of the substantive suit. Other appellants are BNP Paribas Securities Corporation, Mr Hermant Patel and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited. When the matter came up at the weekend, counsel to the respondent (Brittania-U Nigeria Limited), Abiodun Owonikoko SAN, informed the court about a pending application, praying the court to dismiss the appellants appeal for want of diligent prosecution because of failure of the appellants to transmit record or file appellants’ brief. He stated that the appellants in the meantime filed a motion for extension of time to compile and transmit records of appeal despite the fact that Chevron was the one who filed the appeal since two and half years ago after the lower court ruled that it had jurisdiction to entertain the matter. Furthermore, Owonikoko informed the court that his client had an application for the dismissal of the appeal but that it had been overtaken by events. But the appellants counsel, Etuwewe told the court that the record of appeal had been compiled and transmitted to the Court of Appeal. Brittania-U Nigeria Limited an indigenous company did not oppose the application. Records of appeal The court thereafter granted the appellants’ counsel’s application to compile and transmit records of appeal. The court also awarded a sum of N20, 000 in favour of Brittania-U Nigeria Limited whose counsel then withdrew their motion for dismissal of the appeal. Brittania-U Nigeria Limited had approached the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos asking the court to declare that by the final bidding offer made by the plaintiff to the first defendant on November 14th, 2013 at the invitation of the first defendant in the sum of one billion and fifteen million US dollars (US$1, 015, 000, 000.00), for acquisition of the 40 percent participating interest of Chevron Nigeria Limited in OMLs 52, 53 and 56 has been accepted by the first defendant by its conducts, oral and written representations made thereafter on which the plaintiff relied and acted to its detriment. It further explained that by provision of the Irrevocable Standby Letter of Credit for the sum of the two hundred and fifty million US dollars ($250m) opened in favour of the first defendant, to remain in force until September 14, 2014 as part payment; and further provision of firm letter of commitment by the plaintiff’s bankers for payment of the balance of $765million demanded and duly furnished to the first defendant on November 15, 2013.