The absence of Justice, Awogboro Abimbola, of Court 2, Federal High Court, Yenagoa on Thursday stalled hearing on a suit filed by Nembe Community seeking to halt renewal of the OML 29 lease.
It would be recalled that Abimbola who lost her mother was absent at the resumed hearing in the suit.
Officials of the court had informed the parties to the case of the development and communicated the new adjourned date of May 16
The people of Nembe-Bassambiri in Bayelsa had urged the Court to halt the renewal of the lease for OML 29 to Aiteo pending the outcome of a substantive suit before the court.
The development is sequel to plans by the Minister of Petroleum Resources to renew the lease of OML 29 oil block to Aiteo for $82 million without regard to the position of the community in Suit No. FHC/YNG/CS/62/2015.
The plaintiffs are Ikaonaworio Eferebo-Igoma, Iyerite Chiefson Awululu-Atubu, Ayebaesin Edoghotu-Omoh, Markson Amaegbe-Orutari, B.C. Benwari-Yousuo and Doibo Evans representing OML 29 host communities.
The application sought an order restraining the Minister of Petroleum Resources from granting any application for the renewal of OML 29 “beyond the subsisting 30-year term.
The case was slated for hearing on the motion on notice, while urging both parties to make more efforts in ongoing settlement moves.
Abimbola had earlier asked both parties to inform the court of any progress made on the settlement efforts at the next adjourned date.
Reacting , Mr Diewerio Wuku, Legal Adviser to the Opu Nembe Council of Chiefs said that more communities in the Nembe Kingdom had indicated interest in joining the suit.
“The courtroom was filled to the brim as more Chiefs from Nembe who are seeking to join the case were disappointed at the court not sitting and their interest to join is welcome.
“The Nembe Chiefs resolved to approach the courts to seek redress to avoid people resorting to self help,” Wuku said.
Also reacting, Chief Nengi James, a Nembe Chief urged the Judiciary to rise to the occasion and dispense justice to the people.
“We are used to the antics of the oil companies and we are hopeful that the judiciary will rise up to the occasion. If they have access to everything, they should know that we have access to the creeks,” James stated.