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Justice Joe Egwu of the Delta State High Court in Orerokpe has dismissed a motion filed by Opeans Nigeria Limited to join the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to an ongoing lawsuit. The lawsuit involves Opeans Nigeria Limited, the American Petroleum Institute (API), Veriforce Limited Liability Company, and the Attorney-General of Delta State.
Opeans Nigeria Limited had sought to include NUPRC as a defendant in the case, arguing that their involvement was necessary. However, Opeans’ application was challenged based on Sections 307 and 308 of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which state that NUPRC cannot be sued or joined to a lawsuit without proper pre-action notice being served on them.
Furthermore, the court agreed with the plaintiff’s claim that there was no cause of action against NUPRC in this particular case, leading to the dismissal of the motion.
The legal action against Opeans Nigeria Limited and the other defendants stems from allegations of issuing fake and forged American Petroleum Institute (API), and Veriforce BOSIET certificates, which are not approved by the respective institutes.
Opeans Nigeria Limited has been falsely claiming that their training programs and certificates are approved and accredited by API and Veriforce, despite lacking any formal endorsement from them. The Company has been issuing BOSIET certificates falsely claiming that same is approved by API and Veriforce.
However, API, a leading authority in the oil and gas industry, has categorically denied granting any approval or accreditation to Opeans Nigeria Limited for conducting the BOSIET certification, and issuing such certificates. This denial further solidifies the allegations against the defendants, exposing the misleading claims made by Opeans Nigeria Limited regarding their affiliation with API.
BOSIET certification is of utmost importance in ensuring the safety and competence of individuals working in offshore environments of the Oil and Gas industry. The fraudulent issuance of these certificates not only undermines the credibility of the certification process but also poses a significant risk to the safety of workers and the industry as a whole.
With the court’s decision to dismiss Opeans Nigeria Limited application to join NUPRC to the lawsuit, the case will proceed without the involvement of the regulatory commission. The court has set the 18th of October, 2023 as the date for the ruling on the Interlocutory Injunction, which might have significant implications for the future of Opeans Nigeria Limited, where the plaintiff is seeking for an order to restrain Opeans Nigeria Limited from continuing to conduct the BOSIET certification.
This ruling by Justice Joe Egwu highlights the complexities of the legal dispute and the importance of following proper legal procedures. As the case continues, both sides will present their arguments and evidence to support their claims. The upcoming ruling on the Interlocutory Injunction will undoubtedly be a crucial moment in determining the outcome of the case and its implications for the parties involved.