Justice John Isoho of Federal High Court Lagos has granted Intels Nigeria Limited application to be joined in a suit filed by Ladol Integrated Logistics Free Zone Enterprise and MCI FZE Yard Development Limited.
The suit was filed against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the National Assembly, Federal Ministry of Transport and Attorney General of the Federation restraining the passage and assent of the Bill for an Act to amend the oil and gas free zone.
The suit also sought for an interim injunction restraining the defendants from enforcing the Presidential directive that all oil and gas cargoes should be handled in Onne, Warri and Calabar ports which were designated to handle such cargoes since 2006.
In his ruling, Justice Isoho said that the prayers of Intels Nigeria Limited was granted on grounds that the issues for determination touched directly on the business and and financial interests of Intels.
Another company, Associated Maritime Services (AMS) also filed a separate application to be joined in the same suit and its prayer was granted by Justice Isoho.
It will be recalled that Ladol and MCI filed originating summons and vide a Motion Ex-parte brought before Justice Isoho and obtained an order of interim injunction on May 12, 2015.
The order restrained the passage of the Bill for an Act to amend the Oil and Gas Free Zone as well as restrained the defendants from enforcing a Presidential Directive that all oil and gas cargoes be handled at Onne, Warri and Calabar ports.
It will be recalled that the former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan in April 2015, issued a directive that all oil and gas cargo should be handled at designated terminals just as the National Assembly had forwarded to the Presidential for assent a bill to amend the Oil and Gas Free Zone Act.
The two efforts irked some stakeholders in the maritime industry who saw the moves as a design to put them out of business and to create an empire for a few stakeholders.
In reaction since that presidential directive was pronounced, some stakeholders in the maritime sector have been up in arms kicking against the regulation claiming that it had granted monopoly to Intels which had been concessioned to operate three terminals that handle oil and gas cargoes in Warri, Onne and Calabar ports since 2006.
Despite all the explanations made by the Nigeria Ports Authority and other government agencies on why the concessions were made, coupled with the risk of allowing private jetty operators to handle oil and gas cargo because of the delicate nature of the business, the battle to have a share in the business had not abated.
Several legal tussles, media war and protests which never considered the healthy implications of the presidential directive to the economy of the nation and the revenue accruing to government and the need to amend the oil and gas fee zone act have been on in the past seven months.

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