Port Harcourt — Ejama-Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, has hailed the Supreme Court dismissal of SPDC’s suit which sought the setting aside of the N17 billion judgment made against the Dutch firm in 2019.
Recall that the Supreme Court last Friday, dismissed an application by SPDC requesting a revisit of a January 11, 2019 judgment ordering it to pay N17bn damages to Ejama-Ebubu community in Rivers State, affected by an oil spill from the company in 1970.
A five-man panel led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, unanimously dismissed the company’s application for a review of the judgment after upholding the preliminary objection filed by the communities’ legal team.
Reacting to the ruling, the Paramount Ruler of Ejama-Ebubu community, HRH King George Osarabo Osaro, explained that the litigation for justice began in 1991, while the said oil spill which destroyed the fauna and Flora of the community occurred in late 1970s.
King Osaro said the community has been vindicated, despite numerous intimidation and frustration meted on them by the Dutch oil firm.
He called on other oil impacted communities in the Niger Delta not to relent in seeking justice for the people and for the environment.
“The year 1991 was when we went to court, but the arrangement started in 1990. The spill occurred in late 1970s
“We have been vindicated over this whole legal journey for 31years and all the influences, frustration and intimidation which Shell had adopted against us in this legal battle has come to an end, with a big failure on them.
“We will encourage every community in the Niger Delta to adopt same methodology we took against Shell to justify our grouse over what Shell gas done to our environment and giving a very wrong perception about us to the outside world,” the monarch said.
The Supreme Court had on 11th January 2019, upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which awarded N17 billion damages against SPDC, for a devastating oil spill that ravaged farmlands, rivers and streams in Ejama-Ebubu in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State in 1970s.
Shell, the operator of OML11, had in July 2019, filed a suit at the Supreme Court to set aside its earlier judgment on the ground that the apex court did not go into the merit of their appeal before upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal.
But, the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment prepared by Justice Centus Nweze and delivered by Justice Samuel Oseji, asserted that the appeal filed by Shell was frivolous and lacks merit.
Justice Oseji declared that the Supreme Court cannot revisit its earlier decision on the matter. To this end, the court dismissed Shell’s appeal for being incompetent and lacking in merit.