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Absence of Counsel stalls hearing in N5.9bn spill compensation suit

The absence of a defendant’s counsel on Monday stalled hearing in a N5.99 billion oil spill compensation suit filed by members of Aghoro I community in Bayelsa State.

The people of Aghoro I in Ekeremor Local Government Area in Bayelsa State sued Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over a May 17, 2018 oil leak from the oil firm’s Trans Ramos Pipeline.

The Federal High Court was told that counsel representing the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami who is a co-defendant in the suit, Mr Abubaka Abdulahi, was involved in a ghastly motor accident on Sunday.

Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Mohammed Mohammed, told the presiding judge, Justice Isa Ndahen that he received a letter written by Abdulahi who was injured and receiving medical attention in Abuja.

Mohammed, said, Abdulahi in the letter to the court and parties in the case requested for a January adjournment.

Justice Ndahen, then fixed Feb 14 for hearing.

The plaintiffs in the matter are Mr Victor Akamu, Pastor Erebimienkumor Goddey, Mrs Jane Alex, Miss Edith George, Mr Isreal Tomoney and FASF Associates Limited on behalf of Aghoro I community at Ekeremor LGA, Bayelsa.

They are seeking redress for the damages caused by the oil spill and are claiming that the N33.49 million offered by SPDC was a far cry from the N5.99 billion claim based on impacted area damage assessment.

The defendants are Shell Petroleum Development Company, Shell International Exploration and Production BV, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

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