Obasanjo’s Ex-Aide, Others Seek Out-Of Court Settlement In Argument Over Oil Firm Ownership

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A former Special Adviser on Energy to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof Anthony Adegbulugbe and two others have told a Federal High Court in Abuja of plans to make an out-of-court settlement of a discourse between them on the ownership and control of an indigenous oil firm, Green Energy International Limited.

Lawyers to Adegbulugbe, Dr Bunu Alibe and Mr Ayodele Olojede (two directors of Green Energy) said this at the resumption of proceedings in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1390/2020 filed in the name of the company by Adegbulugbe, who is currently the Chairman.

Alade Agbabiaka (SAN), who represented both directors, informed the court that parties were exploring court options to ensure an amicable resolution of the dispute.

Agbabiaka said terms of the settlement were being put together for parties to consider and adopt, following which the suit could be discontinued.

Benbella Anichebe (SAN), who represented the plaintiff, confirmed the position as stated by Agbabiaka.

Anichebe urged the court to grant an adjournment to enable parties to explore the settlement option, assuming that they (the lawyers) would be actively involved in the process.

Ruling, Justice Bolaji Olajuwon commended parties for working on ways to resolve their differences amicably.

The judge counseled the two lawyers to endeavour to ensure the success of the out-of-court settlement efforts.

Justice Olajuwon then adjourned till February 2 next year for a report of settlement or hearing of the substantive suit.

Adegbulugbe, in the suit, is praying the court for a declaration that the two directors- Alibe and Olojede with 22.6% shares- cannot impose their will on the majority shareholders who approved and sanctioned agreements reached with third-party entities for the benefit of the company.

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The complainant also wants the court to restrain the two directors from doing anything inimical to the interest of the firm but use an internal mechanism in resolving any dispute.

In their counter-affidavit, the two directors claimed that Adegbulugbe usurped the function of the Managing Director of the firm and had been taking unilateral decisions that were against the objectives of the company.

The two defendants averred that the former Obasanjo’s aide had engaged in alleged infractions by involving multinational companies in the operations of the company without their input.

Amongst others, they contended that Adegbulugbe brought third parties under the guise of increasing production of the Otakikpo Marginal Oil Field from 5,600 BPD to 30,000 BPD.

The two directors stated that they own 25 percent shares as against the claim that they own only 22.6 % shares in the company.

Alibe, in a supporting affidavit, said he and Olojede were directly instrumental in the award of an oil mining license by the Federal Government of Nigeria to the plaintiff to operate the Otakikpo Marginal Oil Field (OML 11).

They, therefore, prayed the court to protect them as executive directors and as bonafide minority shareholders of the company.

The management crisis is said to be threatening the daily production of targeted 30,000 barrels of crude oil.

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