The Supreme Court today dismissed an application by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPSC, asking the court to revisit of a January 11, 2019 judgment ordering it to pay N17 billion to some Ogoni communities in Rivers State affected by oil spill from the company’s facilities in 1970.
The five-man panel led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour in a unanimous judgement dismissed the company’s application for a review of the judgment and upholds the preliminary objection filed by the communities’ legal team.
Justice Centus Nweze prepared today’s lead ruling, but it was read by another Justice of the apex court, Justice Chukwudumebi Oseji.
The apex court had in the case which had lasted about 31 years from when it was instituted at the High Court, ordered the payment of N17 billion to the Ejama-Ebubu communities in Tai Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, represented by Chief Isaac Agbara and nine others.
The communities’ lead counsel, Lucius Igwe, said today that the judgment sum with the accrued interests for the 32 years period stood at about N182 billion.
At the September 22, 2020 hearing leading to the Supreme Court’s ruling delivered today, Nwosu had urged the apex court not to only dismiss the application, but to also make an order against all the senior lawyers in Shell’s legal team as “deterrence” for the filing of the judgment review application which he said was aimed at ridiculing the integrity and finality of the decisions of the highest court in the land.
Shell’s legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) includes Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), as well as Wale Akoni (SAN