A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained President Goodluck Jonathan, from assenting to the bill for an Act to amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone.
The court, presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu, also restrained the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly from forwarding the Bill to Amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act. Cap. 05 to President Jonathan for his assent.
The order was sequel to a motion ex-parte, in a suit filed before the court on behalf of Nigerdock Nigeria Plc, SIMCO Free Zone Company and Nigerdock Nigeria Plc-FZE, who are plaintiffs in the suit.
Justice Saliu Saidu also restrained the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Honourable Minister of Transport, and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) from prohibiting the usage of the plaintiffs’ facilities at Snake Island Integrated Free Zone for Oil and Gas cargoes destined for use in the free zone.
The plaintiffs had claimed that the Snake Island Integrated Free Trade Zone was approved as a privately owned and managed Free Zone by Presidential declaration in January 2005. It was duly licensed by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), in April 2005.
The plaintiffs, however, argued that in November 2014, they became aware of a Bill for An Act to Amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act, Cap. 05, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, adding that the bill was presented to the Senate and a public hearing was conducted without the knowledge of the plaintiffs who claim that the amendment will negatively undermine and violate their constitutional rights.
Justice Saliu Saidu has adjourned till May 26, 2015, for further hearing of the suit.