24 July 2018

Nigeria: Oil Community Set for Showdown With Shell Over Judgement Debt

Warri — Oloma community in Bonny, Rivers State, has threatened a showdown with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the oil company's failure to comply with a court judgement given seven years ago.

An Ahoada High Court presided over by Justice George Omereji had on March 10, 2011, ordered SPDC to pay N8 million as damages for breach of contract with the leadership of the community.

The court also granted an order compelling SPDC to comply fully with or execute fully the seven clauses or components of its agreement which the claimants entered into on February 17, 2005, especially the payment of N13.1 million as in clause 7 of exhibit 'A'.

Justice Omereji further granted a perpetual order restraining Messrs A.G. Hart and L.A. Sokari, second and third defendants in the suit, from parading themselves as representatives of the community.

The court upheld the prayers of the applicants, James Hart;

Tamunosa Allison; T. Hart; Samuel Allison; Goodnews Banigo and Patrick

Hart that by the custom and tradition of Oloma community, Bonny, were in charge of the day-to-day running of the community.

But seven years after the judgement,

SPDC is yet to act, and the community has threatened to challenge the oil company.

The community has therefore called on SPDC to comply with the court order by Justice Omereji against it, the second and third defendant delivered on March 10, 2011.

Making the appeal in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of the oil giant and made available to journalists in Warri, Delta State, solicitors to the first to sixth claimants (for themselves and representing Oloma Elders Council and Oloma community), Mr. J Chinwe, said the alleged failure of the company to comply with the Rivers State high court judgment, Ahoada judicial division could attract a court contempt suit against it.

"Our client persisted in the spirit of justice and equity, and gladly, on March 10, 2011, Justice Omerjeji entered the judgment in our clients' favour. It is important to point out that among the highpoints of the judgment against SPDC was the nullification of the agreement SPDC entered into with the parties sued as 2nd and 3rd Defendants in the suit and also the perpetual injunction which restrained the 2nd and 3rd Defendants from dealing with SPDC in any capacity on behalf of our clients community," he stated.

The solicitors further alleged that the oil giant did not appeal against the judgment and had allegedly failed to comply with it.

"It is therefore most distasteful and reprehensible that despite the orders of the court against SPDC and the second and third defendants in the suit, SPDC has neglected, refused and resisted all attempts at implementing the judgment of the High Court of Rivers "It is on record that SPDC never appealed on the judgment in any court but has chosen to flagrantly disregard the judgment. We have been instructed to write to you and demand as follows: 'That you without further recourse, immediately comply fully with all the orders of the High Court of Rivers State as per judgment of O. Omereji J. dated March 10, 2011.

"That you forthwith terminate all existing agreements entered into with the second and third defendants in this subject suit especially the procurement of house boat to be stationed at Oloma community which the said defendants are currently executing," it added

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