Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Court Dismisses U.S.$12.4 Billion Oil Windfall Suit

The Federal High Court has dismissed an application demanding information on the statement of account relating to the spending of the U.S.12.4 ... ( Resource: Nigeria Dismisses Gulf Oil Windfall Case

The Abuja Federal High Court yesterday dismissed a suit filed by civil society groups seeking information on how the $12.4 billion accrued from oil windfall was spent by the Federal Government during the tenure of former Military President Ibrahim Babangida.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole said the applicant had no locus standi to institute the action and that they failed to establish by admissible evidence that they are entitled to a hearing.

Six civil society groups sued the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) asking that the accrued revenue be accounted for.

The groups are the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Women Advocates and Documentation Center, Committee for Defence of Human Rights, Access to Justice, Human and Environmental Development Agenda and Partnership for Justice.

The applicants, through their counsel, Femi Falana, had asked the court to compel the AGF and CBN to publish a detailed statement of account showing how the money was spent between 1988 and 1994.

They equally asked the court to compel the respondents to prosecute anyone suspected of corruption and mismanagement of the money.

They said the Okigbo panel which was set up by government in 1994 to investigate CBN's activities found that the money was put in the Dedicated and Special Accounts and it had depleted to $200 million by June 1994, thus the need for an explanation.

CBN had told the court that no such account was set up for the proceeds of excess crude oil.

Both respondents asked the court to dismiss the action as the applicant had no locus standi to institute it.

Kolawole said the applicant failed to place enough evidence before the court to show how the money was mismanaged as it relates to them.

The court held that the action is statute barred as the applicants failed to institute it within the twelve months stipulated after the Okigbo report was submitted to the Federal Government.

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