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Tinubu orders clearing of long-standing legal disputes surrounding $1.3bn Malabu oil block

President Bola Tinubu Directs Government Agencies to Resolve Complex OPL 245 Saga Amid Corruption Allegations

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President Bola Tinubu has issued a directive for the resolution of protracted legal disputes revolving around the $1.3 billion Malabu deepwater OPL 245 oil block located in Nigeria’s southern Niger Delta region. The order aims to address concerns of corruption and misconduct surrounding the lucrative oil deal.

The directive, conveyed to key government agencies including the Attorney-General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, underscores the urgency to conclude negotiations within one month. The move comes in the wake of a recent explosion in Ibadan, raising questions about safety protocols and legal accountability in the oil industry.

The OPL 245 saga, spanning over 28 years, has been marred by allegations of corruption, fraud, and legal battles. Originating from Malabu Oil and Gas’s acquisition of the block in 1998, subsequent ownership disputes and government interventions have led to a complex web of litigation and international scrutiny.

Under the new directive, parties involved in the deal, including Eni, Shell, and Malabu, are engaged in negotiations to bring closure to the longstanding crisis. Minister Lokpobiri emphasized the imperative to unlock the block’s economic potential while addressing the legal complexities and corruption allegations that have plagued the industry.

The multi-jurisdictional nature of the case has drawn attention from international regulatory bodies, including investigations by the US Department of Justice and the Italian court system. Despite various legal outcomes, including acquittals and dropped lawsuits, concerns about transparency and accountability persist.

The decision to pursue a resolution reflects Nigeria’s commitment to promoting investment in its energy sector while addressing systemic challenges of corruption and legal uncertainty. President Tinubu’s directive signals a renewed effort to navigate the intricate dynamics of the OPL 245 deal and foster greater transparency in the extractive industries.

As the country grapples with the complexities of the Malabu OPL 245 case, it underscores broader issues of corruption and governance in resource-rich nations. The outcome of negotiations will not only shape Nigeria’s energy landscape but also serve as a litmus test for accountability and integrity in the global oil industry.

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