LAGOS – Ruling on a suit filed by some indigenes Ejama communities in Ogoniland, Rivers State, over non-payments of N122 billion judgment sum against First Bank Nigeria Limited (FBN) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was on Monday stalled as a result of absence of Justice Ibrahim Buba, the presiding judge.
Buba was said to be attending a workshop organised for judges and some senior lawyers in the country. No new date was fixed for the ruling.
At the last hearing of the matter, counsel to FBN, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), had hinted the court about the workshop, but the judge still fixed today, for hearing of all pending application and ruling.
In the substantive suit, the Ejama communities, who were represented by Chief Isaac Osaro Ogbara, Chief Victor Obari, Chief John Oguru, Hon. Joseph Ogusu, Chief George Osaro, and Chief Adanta Obelle, had sued Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, United Kingdom, and SPDC over alleged oil spills that occurred when Shell operated in the community, at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
Justice Buba had in 2010, after listening to the submissions of the parties in the suit, awarded N17 billion as a judgment to the representatives of the Ogoni people.
The court also granted the Ogoni chiefs 25 per cent interest charge on the principal sum of about N17 billion.
SPDC then appealed the judgment and applied for a stay of execution of the judgment pending the appeal.
As a condition for granting the stay of execution, the court required Shell’s bankers, First Bank Plc, to provide a guarantee of the judgment sum.
This condition was complied with, but Shell’s appeal failed at the Court of Appeal on technical grounds, ostensibly because it filed its processes out of time and without regularising them.
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