Oil companies seek judicial intervention in free zone regulation

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Some Oil and Gas Free Zone Firms in Nigeria seek judicial intervention in the alleged attempt by Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority OGFZA to regulate the oil and gas operations within Snake Island Integrated Free Zone.

The Firms which include, Nigerdock Nigeria Plc, Simco Freezone Company and Nigerdock Nigeria Plc-FZE in 2016 dragged OGFZA before the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking judicial intervention of its insistence to regulate oil and gas operations within SIIFZ.

The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA had served letters on all oil and gas free zones including Snake Island Integrated Free Zone to resume full regulatory powers at the zones in accordance with directives from the Ministry of Industry Trade and investment.

Counsel to the Firms, Mr Qudus Mumumey, in an interview in Abuja said the last time the suit came up in court was on the Feb. 26.

The firms seek to know whether by the clear provisions of the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Act, Cap No. 107, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ) should be regulated by the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) being the Authority vested with the administration of the Authority and management of all the Export Processing Zones.

They also seek clarification letter from the Attorney General of the Federation Federation captioned Re: Interpretation of the provisions of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Act, Cap No 107, LFN, 2004 and Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Act, Cap 05, LFN 2004 as to which government agency is seized with responsibility for oil and gas free zone in Nigeria dated 25th March 2008, the Attorney General of the Federation did not merely reinstate the provisions of the NEPZA and OGFZA Act.

The suit further seeks a declaration that the letter from the Attorney General of the Federation dated March 25, 2008, reinstated the provisions of the NEPZA and OGFZA Acts.

The Firms averred that if the answers to the above questions were in the affirmative, the court should not hesitate in granting a declaration that the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) is responsible for the administration and regulation of the Snake Island Integrated Free Zone.

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