By John Ikani
Justice came the way of the Ogoni people of Rivers state on Wednesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja where a multi-national oil company, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDCN) agreed to pay a whopping sum of N45.9B to the people for the loses suffered during oil spillage that ravaged their communities.
The monetary compensation, which was ordered by a Federal High Court in Lagos about ten years ago, is to be paid to the affected communities through their lawyer, Lucius Nwosu (SAN).
Shell’s lawyer, Aham Ejelamo (SAN), had disclosed Shell’s acceptance to pay before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja on Wednesday.
The senior lawyer sought the order of Justice Mohammed to permit payment of the debt through the Chief Registrar of the court in a bank account to be opened for the purpose.
However, it was finally agreed that the said sum be paid through the lawyer to the Ogoni people.
Justice Mohammed then proceeded to make an order endorsing the payment by SDPCN.
The money was awarded as damages against SPDCN in favour of the Ogoni communities on June 14, 2010 by Justice Ibrahim Buba (then of the Federal High Court, Lagos) in a suit by the representatives of the communities, led by Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara and nine others.
The plaintiffs were said to have agreed to waive the interest on the principal judgment sum as a concession agreed upon during talks leading to the final reconciliatory agreement.