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S’court dismisses Shell’s bid to review N17bn Ogoni judgement debt

S’court dismisses Shell’s bid to review N17bn Ogoni judgement debt
November 27
17:36 2020

The supreme court, on Friday, dismissed a suit filed by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), seeking the review of a judgment ordering it to pay N17 billion to some Ogoni communities in Rivers state that were affected by the company’s oil spillage in 1970.

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The apex court had on January 11, 2019, upheld a court of appeal judgment that awarded damages against Shell for oil spillage in Ejama-Ebubu in Tai Eleme local government area (LGA) of Rivers state.

The five- man panel, led by Olabode Rhodes- Vivour, a justice of the supreme court, unanimously dismissed Shell’s application for a review of the judgement, saying it lacked merit.

Before delivering the verdict, the court upheld a preliminary objection that 10 traditional chiefs from the affected communities filed to oppose Shell’s application.

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The communities had accused Shell of abusing judicial proceedings by attempting to re-litigate a matter that was earlier decided by the court.

The lead ruling  was prepared by Centus Nweze, a supreme court judge, but read by Chukwudumebi Oseji, another supreme court judge.

At an hearing on September 22, Lucius Nwosu, lead counsel to the Ogoni communities, had prayed the supreme court to make an order against all the senior lawyers in Shell’s legal team to caution them for contesting the judgement debt.

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Reacting to Friday’s decision of the apex court, Nwosu said that the judgement sum, with the accrued interests for over 30 years, stood at about N182 billion.

According to Nwosu, it was the same oil spillage case that led to the execution of environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, by the military regime.

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