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Nigeria: Oil Swap - Court Fixes Mar 26 for Lawyer's Reply to NNPC

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed March 26 to hear the reply of an Abuja-based lawyer to a preliminary objection by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the non-disclosure of an oil swap deal.

Justice Abdul Kafarati yesterday adjourned the matter after the applicant Francis Mgbo requested for seven days to reply to NNPC's objection. Mgbo is challenging the refusal of the NNPC to provide, under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, details of the crude oil swap contract with Taleveras Group Ltd which saw the company importing refined products into Nigeria.

But in a preliminary objection filed before the court, counsel to the NNPC, Godwin Obla (SAN) urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction. He also argued that the suit is incompetent, statute barred and a gross abuse of court process.

In his affidavit, the lawyer averred that he wrote two letters dated April 4 and May 7, 2014 requesting for information of the oil deal under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 but was denied.

He is therefore praying for a declaration that the "refusal by the NNPC to make available full details of the Crude Oil Swap deal with Taleveras Group of Companies Ltd is a violation of Sections 2, 3(3), 4 and 5 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

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