By Davies Iheamnachor
The Rivers State Government has sealed and assumed ownership of Kidney Island from Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
This was when the government secured the fulfillment of its interest in acquiring 45 percent of the shares of Oil Mining Lease, OML, 11, and the island at Port Harcourt.
However, SPDC has dismissed the state government’s claim that it has taken over the oil giant’s facilities and interests in OML11, adding that the matter was still in court.
Kelvin Ebiri, special assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike on the media, in a statement in Port Harcourt said that the island used by SPDC as its operational base in Port Harcourt, now belongs to the Rivers State government following a certificate of purchase registered in Land Register as No. 6 on page 6 in Vol. 46, Port Harcourt.
Ebiri noted that the purchase certificate was issued by order of the Rivers State Superior Court on July 23, 2019 and September 25, 2019 after the purchase of the facility.
Meanwhile, SPDC spokesman Gbenga Odugbesan, in a statement regarding the government’s position, said that the state government’s move was premature.
Usugbesan said: “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has dismissed the alleged acquisition of the Kidney Island assets of the SPDC joint venture in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Government in the exercise of allegedly acquired rights to through a judicial auction process that continues to be the subject of ongoing appeals at the Port Harcourt Court of Appeal.
“Any alleged exercise of rights purportedly acquired through that process, including any attempt to seize control or seal off the Kidney Island asset or other SPDC JV assets to satisfy claims in pending lawsuits, is premature and detrimental to the legal proceedings in course, and therefore not Recognized.
“Under the Nigerian Petroleum Act, any acquisition or assignment of interest in a license or lease would require the consent of the Minister of Petroleum. No such consent has been given in the case of the alleged acquisition by the Rivers State Government.