On the controversy over the ownership of OPL 245, he stated that the government of the late General Sani Abacha awarded numerous oil blocks inclusive of OPL 245 and OPL 246 in 1998. “In 2001, the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked Malabu’s right to OPL 245 forcing Malabu to seek justice in court. Of note, other oil blocks, notably OPL 246 awarded by the late General Sani Abacha was not revoked only OPL 245 owned by Malabu was revoked. In 2002, the Obasanjo government re-awarded OPL 245 to Shell after a competitive bidding. But most interestingly, in 2006, realising the grave injustice meted on Malabu, the same Obasanjo government that revoked Malabu’s right to OPL 245 restored its full right of the oil block, thereby correcting the mistake it made in 2001. While the multinational Shell felt aggrieved and sought relief at the courts in foreign lands as multinationals always do, the matter dragged on and was stalemated. It was only in 2011, after about 14 years of acrimonious litigation that the federal government of President Goodluck Jonathan resolved finally and satisfactorily the various ownership claims of OPL 245 between all contending parties,” he explained.
According to him, up till today, the president has the discretionary power to award oil blocks, except the still born petroleum industry bill is passed into law and states otherwise, changes, amends or removes this prerogative powers from the president.
He urged the National Assembly not to reopen an already determined case, adding that between 2002 and 2003, the House of Representatives spent millions of tax payers’ money over a period of 10 months investigating what the Nigerian media sensationalised as the “Malabu Scandal.”