Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release N81.9 billion to communities in Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
The money is standing to the credit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its joint venture partner, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.
The judge gave the order while ruling on a garnishee nisi proceeding filed the communities.
The representatives of the communities led by Mr. Effiong Archianga had in suit filed by their lawyer, Lucius Nwosu (SAN), had demanded N100billion for losses suffered from oil spillage.
They claimed that the oil spillage caused environmental degradation in their communities.
NNPC, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and ExxonMobil Corporation were listed as defendants in the suit.
The court had on June 21, 2021 awarded N81.9 billion to the plaintiffs, who are now judgment creditors.
The court ordered that the money be paid within 14 days after which eight percent interest would be accruable on the principal sum annually.
However, on December 15, 2021, in a garnishee nisi proceeding, the CBN insisted that it must get the consent of the Attorney- General of the Federation before enforcing the judgment.
At Monday’s proceedings, Justice Taiwo dismissed the apex bank’s claim and ordered the release of the funds to the communities.
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