The government of Akwa Ibom State has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier consent for Seplat Energy to acquire shallow water assets of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited – the Nigerian arm of ExxonMobil Corporation – amounts to contempt of court.
President, however, on Wednesday, rescinded his decision to support Seplat and backed regulator’s opposition to the acquisition.
On Monday, President Buhari granted consent to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil’s Nigerian unit by Seplat Energy in a $1.28 billion deal announced in February.
But the Akwa Ibom State government faulted the President’s earlier support for Seplat before he later backtracked, saying the transaction was subject to restraining orders of injunction of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, sitting in Uyo in Suits No. HEK/56/2018, between Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State V. Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and HU/209/2020, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited V. Governor of Akwa Ibom State and three others.
Uko Essien Udom, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom State, stated that ExxonMobil, Seplat Energy, NNPC Ltd and the Federal Government were all aware of the court order, as they were all served.
Udom cautioned that anyone who deals with the shares or assets of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited during the subsistence of the said orders and in the pendency of the above suits, was doing so at his or her own risk.
“ExxonMobil, Seplat Energy, NNPC Ltd and the Federal Government of Nigeria, all have actual knowledge of the court orders, having been duly served with the orders and/or various newspaper publications of same.
“This executive interference with the judicial process of a court of competent jurisdiction is sad and ill-advised, and is contemptuous of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State.
“The State urges the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to take the above facts into consideration as it considers its position in this matter.
“Take notice therefore that anyone who deals with the shares or assets of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited during the subsistence of the said orders and in the pendency of the above suits does so at their own risk. Let the buyer beware,” he said.