Tuesday, February 23, 2021 8:19 am
A Federal High Court sitting in Kano has ordered the immediate suspension of a pipeline project running through four states and the Federal Capital Territory, popularly tagged Ajaokuta, Kaduna and Kano (AKK) Gas Pipelines.
In an ex parte motion granted by Justice Sa’adatu Mark, the court restrained the Federal Government, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), ORA Egbunike and Associates, and Minister of Petroleum Resources from digging and constructing gas well in Kano portion of the project.
The Guardian newspaper reports that the order signed by the court registrar, Zainab Bello, restrained the defendants, their service agents and representatives from carrying out any administrative or executive functions, or performing any contractual obligations under any agreement on the project.
It also directed the plaintiffs to ensure the respondents were put on notice with the seven days of service of the order.
In a substantive application, Abdullahi Adamu and 35 others argued that acquisition of plots and farmlands at Magami village in Dawakin-Kudu Council of Kano, dedicated for the AKK Gas Pipelines project, did not follow due process. The defendants, according to the plaintiffs, acquired the lands illegally, having failed to fulfill the required provisions of the law for the land acquisition.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Abubakar Ishaq, told journalists at the weekend that the motion was instituted to correct the injustice against the land-owners. Ishaq noted that the defendants failed to respond adequately to the first service of pre-action notice forwarded to them.
“We are asking the court to declare the action and process through which the Federal Government acquired the plots and farmlands invalid, without any legal effect,” he noted
President Muhammadu Buhari, in June 2020, flagged off the $2.8 billion gas pipelines project to boost economic development in the country.
The project, which originated from Ajaokuta in Kogi, traverses Abuja, Niger, Kaduna and terminated in Kano.
It would be fed from the existing domestic infrastructure with a capacity of over 1.5 billion cubic feet daily. Efforts to get reaction from the engineer handling the project, Magaji Muazu, were not successful. The matter is adjourned till April 15, 2021.