In Lagos Mobil to pay N10B to fishing communities over oil spillage

The court awarded the sum in a judgment delivered in a suit by Chief M. Ajanaku and others, on behalf of fishing communities and cooperatives of Lagos.

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To match feature NIGERIA-BONGA/ play Oil workers walk through pipe installations on a tanker at Bonga off-shore oil field outside Lagos, file. (REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)
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A Federal High Court in Lagos has awarded the sum of N10 billion against ‎Mobil Producing Nig. unlimited, over a 1998 oil spillage.

‎The court awarded the sum in a judgment delivered in a suit by Chief M. Ajanaku and others, on behalf of fishing communities and cooperatives of Lagos.

‎The plaintiffs had sought a declaration that the defendant’s continuing failure to undertake post impact remediation measures to restore the ecosystem of their lands and waters, was unlawful.

They had argued that a refusal by the defendants to show consideration to where they carry on their occupation of fish farming, is a violation of their right to life, and right to live in an environment favourable to their socio-economic development.

They also prayed for a declaration that the Plaintiffs whose representatives signed the release forms in favour of the defendant, carried out same by undue influence.

They argued that by such undue influence, the document is rendered null and void.

The plaintiffs also prayed the court to hold that the document purporting to release the defendant from effecting post-impact remediation programmes to restore the Plaintiffs’ environment is null and void.

They argued that this was on the grounds that the document relates to an unconscionable bargain which was signed under economic duress and in breach of statutory provisions.

They sought an order for the cancellation of all release documents signed by representatives of some of the Plaintiffs on the ground that the signatures were obtained by undue influence and fraud.

They also sought an order that the defendant should commence post impact remediation programmes in respect of the Plaintiffs’ lands and waters polluted by the defendant’s Idoho oil spill.

They also sought an order, urging the defendants to do all such acts and things to clean up the environment of the Plaintiffs and to restore same to its original state.

Besides, the plaintiffs sought special damages in the sum of N8.4 billion with ‎interest at the rate of 10% per annum from Jan. 26, 1998 until judgment was delivered.

They also sought payment of interest on the same rate until full payment by the defendant.

The plaintiffs further claimed N1.4 billion being general damages for the infraction on their constitutional and statutory rights, and an interest on the judgment sum at the rate of 10% from the date of judgment until full payment.

In his judgment, Justice Ibrahim Buba granted all the claims by Plaintiffs excluding the interest.

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