OML 11: Rivers Govt Wins Suit Against SHELL

The Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt and presided over by Hon. Justice Charles Nwogu, has today delivered judgement in suit No.PHC/652/CS/2020 filed by the Attorney General of Rivers State against Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) of Nigeria Limited.

A statement by Paulinus Nsirim, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, on August 13, 2020, disclosed that the Rivers State Government had claimed that SPDC Defendant’s/ Judgment Debtor Interest in it’s fixed landed assets comprised in Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and interests in Lands comprised in Oil Mining Lease No. 11(OML 11) sold to the Claimant pursuant to the execution of the combined court judgments in Suit No.FHC/PH/231/2001; CA/PH/396/2012 and the Supreme Court Appeal No.SC 731/2017 is consistent with the command contained in Section 287(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999( as amended).

The Claimants further claimed that the continued defiant appropriation (despite the completed sale) of possessory and usufructuary including pecuniary accruals in respect of it’s fixed landed assets comprised in its Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and interests in Lands comprised in OML 11 infringes on the Claimant’s vested respective rights to title, and pecuniary interests therein.

That SPDC is bound to render account to render accounts to and pay over to the Claimant all accruals from the Defendant’s continued appropriation of the pecuniary interests in the said OML 11 including arrears of commercial rents for their use of the said property from the date the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court of Rivers State issued title documents thereon to the Claimant until the Defendant peaceably yields up possession thereof.

The Court in a considered judgment upheld the claims of the Rivers State Government in the following terms:

SPDC Judgment Debtor’s interests in it’s fixed landed assets comprised in its Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and interests in Lands comprised in OML 11 sold to the Claimant pursuant to the execution of the combined Court judgments in Suit No. FHC/PH/231/2001; CA/PH/396/2012 and the Supreme Court Appeal No. SC 731/2017 is consistent with the command contained in Section 287(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999( as amended).

That the Defendant’s continued defiant appropriation(despite the completed sale) of posssessory and usufructuary rights including pecuniary accruals in respect of it’s fixed assets comprised in its Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and interests in Lands comprised in OML 11 infringes on the Claimant’s vested respective rights to title and pecuniary interests therein.

Also that the Defendant is bound to render accounts to and pay over to the Claimant all accruals from the Defendant’s continued appropriation of the pecuniary interests in the said OML 11 including arrears of commercial rents for their use of the Kidney Island Base and Jetty from the date the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court of Rivers State issued title documents thereon to the Claimant until the Defendant peaceably yields up possession thereof.

That the Claimant ought to be accorded with all interests, rights, privileges and benefits derivable from its acquisition of Defendant’s fixed landed assets comprised in its Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and interests in Lands comprised in OML 11 in accordance with the title documents issued by the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court of Rivers State.

That the Claimant is entitled to the Defendant’s fixed landed assets comprised in its Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and the license in Lands comprised in OML 11 in accordance with the title documents issued by the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court of Rivers State.

An Order compelling the Defendant, their agents, assigns, representatives, privies or whosoever called to accord the Claimant with all rights , privileges and benefits accruable from its purchase of Defendant’s fixed landed assets comprised in its Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and interests in Lands comprised in OML 11 in accordance with the title documents issued by the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court of Rivers State.

The Court directed the Defendant to account for and handover to the Claimant all monetary accruals it had made from its continued appropriation of the fixed landed assets comprised in its Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and interests in Lands comprised in OML 11 from the date the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court of Rivers State issued title documents thereon to the Claimant until the Defendant peaceably yields up possession thereof.

The Court also perpetually restrained the Defendant, their agents, assigns, representatives, privies or howsoever called from embarking on acts or omissions adverse to the title, right and interest of the Claimant over the fixed landed assets comprised in its Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and interests in Lands comprised in OML 11.

Finally, the Court condemned SPDC’s continued violation of the legal process by her continued occupation of the said Kidney Island Base, Port Harcourt and other properties already acquired by the Rivers State Government.

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