25/01/2022

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Court Judgment: Forcados, Odimodi Communities Mobilize To Shut Down Mobil Operations

3 min read

…they should pay us court-ordered compensation

….we are tired of court processes

Ijaw communities in Delta state has threatened to shut down the operations of the Forcados Terminal of giant oil company, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, if it does not discontinue its planned appeal against the judgment of a court ruling in favour of the communities.

There is palpable fear of an impending violent action by the residents of Odimodi Federated and Forcados communities, on Thursday following reports that the oil company (MPN) has appealed against a court judgment in favour of the communities.

The court case dragged for 17-years, and a Warri High Court awarded the Odimodi and Forcados communities the sum of N1.430b on 11th January 2018, following a large scale of impact incident that affected the communities.

GbaramatuVoice learnt that tension is building up in the communities following the Notice of Appeal and Stay of Execution application which has already been filed by MPN to challenge the judgment delivered at the Federal High Court of justice, sitting in Warri, Delta State.

The case was between Barrister Pere-Ebibo Cinema Fufeyin (Accredited Attorneys/Agents, acting for and on behalf of Odimodi Federated Communities and Forcados Community in Burutu Local Government Area) and the oil company.

Foremost Ijaw youth group, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), on Thursday warned of a possible shut down of MPN’S oil facilities in Odimodi and Forcados by the locals who have been pursuing the celebrated case since 20 years ago, when the spill occurred from Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN) facilities, with about 40,000 barrels of crude spilling into the Atlantic Ocean affecting several states.

Addressing newsmen in Warri on the development, IYC’s President, Barr Eric Omare urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately prevail on the oil company to suspend the proposed Appeal and Stay of Execution by the oil company and pay the communities the judgment sum so as not to flare up tempers in the Niger Delta region.

According to him, should the Forcados Terminal be shut down, it could lead to another round of economic recession in the country hence, his appeal as the spill has caused the communities numerous major health challenges over the years.

He also warned that if anything untoward happens in the communities, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, the guarantors of the offending Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN) in the spill incident, which occurred in Eket, Akwa-Ibom and spread to Shell’s Forcados Terminal and Odimodi communities in Delta state would be held responsible.

Mr Omare said that the various communities were already tired, having gone through a long drawn court process.

He pleaded with President Buhari, to prevail on the oil giant to pay the compensation for peace to reign in the region.

It will recalled that Justice Shitu Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Warri in his judgment in Suit No. FHC/WR/CS/33/20 last week, ordered the oil giant, Mobil to pay the sum of One billion, four hundred and thirty million as compensation to the communities.

The judge delivering the landmark judgment said; “Accordingly, I enter judgment in favour of the plaintiffs and against the defendant as per the plaintiff’s writ of summons.

‘For the avoidance of doubt, I order the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs as follows, N980,000,000.00 (Nine Hundred and Eighty Million Naira) being fair and adequate compensation due and payable to the Odimodi Federated Communities for injurious effect, ecological damage, loss of means of livelihood and damage to fishing creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, grounds, streams, mangrove swamps, farm lands, economic trees and health hazards emanating directly from the intimately connected land area with the defendant’s Idoho 24” leaked oil  pipeline spillage of  January 12, 1998, in line with the recommendations of  expert valuation reports submitted to the defendant on behalf of the Odimodi Federated Communities in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta state.

N450,000,000 being fair payment and adequate compensation due and made  payable to the Forcados communities for injurious effect”, the judgment read.

While giving a recount of the case and subsequent judgment, Barrister Pere-Ebibo Cinema Fufeyin, explained that the communities had expended over N500million on the prosecution of  the case over the years, adding that the people are no more interested in going through the rigours of another resource-wasting court exercise again.

 

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