Report by a Citizen Reporter
Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) congratulates Ibeno community in Akwa-Ibom State and its people over the Abuja Federal High Court judgement that awarded N82billion in general damages against Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited on June 21 over long-standing oil spills caused by the Joint Venture (JV) partners mining crude oil in and around the community.
The environmental and human rights organization stated this in a statement released in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on June 22 and signed by its Executive Director, Mr. Dumnamene Fyneface.
The organization said the judgement has again rekindled the hope of Niger Delta communities that suffer environment polluted caused by oil mining companies in the Nigeria judiciary system after similar recent landmark judgement against Shell in favour of Ejama-Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area (Ogoni) of Rivers State.
According to the organization, this judgement against NNPC/Mobil reminded YEAC of the role played by NNPC through its petroleum exploration and production subsidiary company, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in the sacking of Busuu community in the Yorla Oilfield, OML 11 in Khana Local Government Area (Ogoniland) of Rivers State where nobody lives in the community anymore due to incessant oil spills and explosion from NPDC oil mining activities in the area and till date, steps have not been taken by NNPC/NPDC to rebuild the community and resettle the people back to their ancestral land.
Expressing satisfaction over the amount awarded against NNPC/Mobil for Ibeno community where the JV partners are producing from 353 oil wells, Advocacy Centre said the road to justice in the N100bn compensation suit since 2012 may have been long but justice is here eventually served at last to serve as deterrent to other intending and ongoing environmental polluters in the Niger Delta that their judgment day would surely come from both local and international court of competent jurisdictions.
Advocacy Centre calls on the NNPC, Mobil and JV partners to pay the N82billion general damages awarded by the High Court immediately within the stipulated 14days ordered by the court or be prepared to pay the 8% annual interest rate which amounts to Six Billion, Five Hundred and Sixty Million Naira (N6,560,000,000) per annum. Adding that, the immediate payment of the N82billion damages awarded to Ibeno community would save the JV partners from the bitter experience of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Ltd in the Ejama-Ebubu community case that the company delayed court awarded N17billion damages and now paying over N182billion with accumulated annual interest rate over a period of 31years as at 2020.
Beyond the compensation, YEAC calls on NNPC and Mobil to clean up the oil spills in the community, audit the health of the people who have lived in the polluted areas over the years and provide medical care to address identified health issues associated with the people living in hydrocarbon polluted environment that they caused them.