africa

Court awards A’Ibom community N82bn damages over oil spill, gas flaring


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday awarded the sum of N82bn against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Mobil Production Nigeria Unlimited in the suit filed against them by Obong Effiong Archianga and others, who sued for themselves and on behalf of the Ibeno Clan in Akwa Ibom State.

The court also ordered that the sum be paid to the concerned communities in Ibeno Clan within 14 days, after which a post-judgment interest of 8% per annum would be chargeable.

While delivering the judgment in the suit, Justice Oladipupo Taiwo held that Mobil Nigeria and the NNPC were negligent in handling the oil spillage that caused environmental damage in the communities.

The court also made an order of mandamus against the first defendant to ensure the clean-up, detoxification and rehabilitation of the land ecosystem, underground water, and air quality of the plaintiffs by its venture operators.

It further stated that the NNPC should not only be interested in the revenue generated from oil activities at the expense of the interest of the people in the communities.

The court held that the third defendant, Exxon Mobil Corporation, could sue and be sued in Nigeria notwithstanding that it remained a foreign company.

However, the court stated that the Ibeno community had failed to prove the ownership of Mobil Nigeria by Exxon Mobil Corporation.

The court held that there was no cause of action against Exxon Mobil Corporation in the suit.

Consequently, the court struck out the Exxon Mobil Corporation as third defendant as a party in the suit.

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Archianga and nine others, representing Ibeno Clan in Akwa Ibom State had sued NNPC, Mobil Production Nigeria Unlimited, and Exxon Mobil Corporation as first to third defendants respectively.

Justice Taiwo consequently awarded the sum cumulatively as damages for intangible losses, special damages as annotated and as general damages.

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