The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to pay oil communities in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, a cumulative damages of N81.9 billion over oil spillage.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a judgment debt, ordered that the payment must be paid within 14 days, and failing which 8 per cent interest would be accruable on the principal sum annually.
Delivering judgment on Monday in a joint suit instituted against the two defendants, by the aggrieved oil producing communities, Justice Taiwo held that the American oil company and NNPC were negligent in the way and manner they handled oil spills that caused environmental degradation in the communities.
Taiwo particularly took swipe at the NNPC for being interested in the revenue generations from the oil exploration at the expense of the lives of the people in the communities. He said he was convinced that the oral and documentary evidence adduced by the plaintiffs to support their claims that lives were made miserable for them when their water and land were polluted through crude oil leakages from old oil pipelines. He noted the claims of Mobil that it did clean up exercise and held that the oil giant failed to address the compensation that would have mitigated the economic losses of the people said to be mainly fishermen and farmers.