A Federal High Court in Abuja has set July 5 for hearing on the dispute over ownership of Oil Prospecting License (OPL 245).
Justice John Tsoho adjourned three count suits to enable Mohammed Sani Abacha and directors of Malabu Oil Ltd to serve Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Company Ltd and to receive the reply of other respondents in the matter.
Counsel to the applicants, Joseph Achimugu had asked for adjournment to enable Professor Kanyin Ajayi (SAN), who volunteered to receive the process on behalf of Shell, to reply.
Directors of Malabu, including Mohammed Abacha and Otunba Fasawe had on March 17 challenged the Federal Government, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Shell Ultra-Deep Ltd, AGIP and former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete over an attempt by the EFCC to treat OPL 245 as a proceed of crime.
They had also faulted the anti-graft agency's interim forfeiture application, which was vacated by the court and the bloc reverted to Shell and AGIP.
On April 11, directors of Malabu, filed an application to serve in Lagos a notice of interlocutory injunction against the Federal Government from entering agreement with Shell and AGIP over moves to begin exploration of the $13.5bn Zazabaza Deep Water and Ethan Oil Fields project, which is a part of the OPL 245.
The former minister and former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) are already facing criminal charges over allegations of diverting $1.1billion from the deal.