By Mike Ekureku
Oil giant, Shell have come under attack for allegedly stealing over 16 million barrels of crude oil from AITEO Eastern E & P Company Limited.
Aiteo alleged that the oil major under-counted the volume of crude from its facilities to Bonny oil and gas export terminal which Shell operates through the Nembe trunk line by Aiteo and other local producers.
The company is therefore demanding that Shell refund it with 16 million barrels of oil or $1.3 billion damages.
According to AITEO, the action of Shell has adversely affected their social responsibilities to their host communities and also affected that of Bayelsa state revenue allocation.
Meanwhile Niger Delta Connect gathered that a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos recently granted an interim injunction directing commercial banks to block the accounts of Shell in a bid to recover the cash value of more than 16 million barrels of crude oil.
Justice Oluremi Omowunmi Oguntoyinbo gave the order following an ex parte application in suit no FHC/L/CS/52/202 where AITEO Eastern E & P Company Ltd is the plaintiff/applicants and SPDC Ltd is the first defendant.
The respondents in the suit were 20 banks which Shell companies operate accounts with.
AITEO’s application was filed by Messrs Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), leading Dr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Dapo Olanipekun (SAN), and four other Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
Oguntoyinbo in his ruling said the banks should, “ring-fence any cash, bonds, deposits, all forms of negotiable instruments to the value of $2.7 billion and pay all standing credits to the Shell companies up to the value into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the court.”
He also ruled that the Chief Registrar is to “hold the funds in trust” pending the hearing of the motion and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed before it by AITEO.
In the meantime, youths of Opu-Nembe in Nembe Local Govrnment Area of Bayelsa state has protested against Shell for the alleged diversion.
The youths under the aegis of Nembe Youth Federation took to the streets with placards, accusing Shell of economic sabotage against them which has affected AITEO and their community relationship in the area of GMOUs and other social responsibilities which AITEO was meant to carry out.