The Federal Government on Wednesday, filed a Notice of Appeal, challenging the decision of a Federal High Court Lagos, which dismissed a debt recovery suit it filed against Nigeria Agip Oil Company Ltd, and Brasoil Services Company Nigeria Ltd over undeclared oil shipment.

FG through its counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, had filed the suit in 2016, seeking to recover almost 12 billion dollars in missing crude oil revenue from some International Oil Companies.

Government is claiming 55 million dollars against Agip, in missing oil revenue, and claiming the sum of 4.8 million dollars against Brasoil in similar circumstances.

It says the sums represent shortfalls in the amount of excess crude oil lifted out of Nigeria.

In its judgment delivered on Wednesday, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, dismissed the plaintiff’s suit on the grounds that it failed to establish sufficient facts on a preponderance of evidence.

In the case of Agip, the court held that the plaintiff ought to provide sufficient evidence to show that the defemdant actually lifted excess 500,000 barrels of crude oil, in order to entitle it to the reliefs sought.

Similarly, in the case against Brasoil, the court also held that the burden rests on the plaintiff to prove and show requisite evidences, in pursuit of its case, adding that it failed to establish same.

On that premise, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s suits.

Dissatisfied with the lower court’s judgment, FG through its counsel, filed a Notice of Appeal challenging the entire courts decision on several grounds.

For instance, FG averred that the lower court erred in law, when it held that the plaintiff’s case fails for lack of proof on a preponderance of evidence, and held that it was not entitled to all the reliefs sought in its amended statement of claim dated April 12, 2017.

Appellant contends that the court failed to consider relevant facts put before it, and also erred in law when it held that the defemdant had performed all the relevant obligation in relation to a declaration of crude oil revenue to be remitted to the FG.

The plaintiff averred that in line with established principle of law, it is of the opinion that there must be a crucial appraisal and evaluation of all evidences brought before the court.

Plaintiff is therefore, seeking an order of the appellate court, setting aside the decision of the lower court, by which it dismissed its suit. No date has been fixed for hearing of the Appeal filed today.

Agency news reports that the Federal government had also sued Total E&P Nig. Plc, alleging that the oil company under-declared the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

Government accused the oil company of short-changing it to the tune of 245 million dollars, by allegedly shipping several barrels of crude oil out of Nigeria, without making due remittance to the government.

Similar suits are also pending against Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd among others. All suits are pending before Justice Olatoregun of the lower court

SOURCEOgochi Ndubuisi
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