The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria LNG Limited, and two others to pay N100Bn damages to oil host Finima Community of Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State for breaches of lease agreement and neglect.
Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court Abuja Division granted the order in a judgment in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1419/2022, brought against Federal Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited ( NNPC) Nigeria LNG Limited and Nigerian Content Development And Monitoring Board ( NCDMB ).
The suit was filed on 15th August 2022, by representatives of the Buoye Omuso (Brown) Major House of Finima (Founders of Finima, and owners of all lands in Finima) through their counsel Prof.Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
for themselves and on behalf of the People of Finima Community of Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Donatus Okorowo held that there exists a binding lease agreement between the NNPC, the NLNG Ltd and the FINIMA community; and that the community was entitled to compensation for breach of the said lease agreement.
The court also agreed with the plaintiffs that the defendant’s failure to provide adequate relocation arrangements for affected members of the community was a breach of the said lease agreement and the NCDMB community guidelines.
Justice Okorowo disagreed with the defendants’ objection that the plaintiffs have no locus to institute the suit in a representative capacity for the FINIMA community because the plaintiffs had testified and provided in court, a copy of the resolution wherein the entire community agreed to that effect.
They also,most notably, tendered an earlier judgement in rem delivered by Hon. Justice Inko-Tariah, sitting at the High Court of Rivers state, in suit no: PHC/174/72, wherein the trial Judge had declared that, “all land situate and lying between FINIMA and Bonny belong to the FINIMA community represented by the Plaintiffs”, he noted.
Justice Okorowo further ordered the defendants to effect a lease agreement between the plaintiffs and the NLNG and /or any other relevant party within thirty clear days of judgement.
Consequently,the Judge awarded 100 Billion naira as general damages against the defendants for their neglect to recognize the plaintiffs as their host community.
He also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from carrying out further works or operations on the site of the NLNG Plant in Finima Community until due and total compliance with the terms and conditions agreed upon and compliance with relevant laws.
The court added that, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), miscarried in its statutory duty by failing to enforce the lease agreement and its relevant laws against the defendants for their failure to provide adequate compensation and are thus likewise liable.
In their representatives capacity the Plaintiffs: Warialabo Inima Dickson Brown, Warialabo Airigha Christopher Goni Brown, Warialabo Tuwonimi Iyariari, KSC had sued for themselves and on behalf of the People of Finima Community of Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State under the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board – Community Content Guidelines (NCDMB-CCG), 2017.
The court answered in the affirmative to all the seven declarations and prayers sought by the plaintiffs.
It granted all the seven reliefs sought by the plaintiffs, including a declaration that the Plaintiffs who sued in a representative capacity for themselves and on behalf of the Buoye Omuso (Brown) Major House of Finima, (Founders of Finima, and owners of all lands in Finima) and Finima Community in Bonny Local Government Area, Rivers State, is the host community housing the NLNG Plant and other NLNG facilities, referred to in the 2ndDefendant’s letter dated 3rd March, 1978, with reference No: GPD.001/S.1/21 50230/225, same being their ancestral homelands.
A declaration that the refusal, failure and/or neglect by the defendants, their representatives, aides, workers, agents, privies, and servants, to enter into a lease agreement with the plaintiffs, and ensure compliance with the terms agreed upon by the 2ndDefendant and NCDMB Community guidelines constitutes a deprivation of the rights of the Plaintiffs as host community and a breach of the terms so agreed upon, among other reliefs.
Full Speech of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for Nigeria’s 63RD Independence Day Anniversary
“It is my unique honour to address you on this day, the 63rd anniversary of our nation’s independence, both as the President of our dear country and, simply, as a fellow Nigerian.
“On this solemn yet hopeful day, let us commend our founding fathers and mothers. Without them, there would be no modern Nigeria. From the fading embers of colonialism, their activism, dedication, and leadership gave life to the belief in Nigeria as a sovereign and independent nation.
“Let us, at this very moment, affirm that, as Nigerians, we are all endowed with the sacred rights and individual gifts that God has bestowed on us as a nation and as human beings. No one is greater or lesser than the other. The triumphs that Nigeria has achieved shall define us.
The travails we have endured shall strengthen us. And no other nation or power on this earth shall keep us from our rightful place and destiny. This nation belongs to you, dear people. Love and cherish it as your very own.
“Nigeria is remarkable in its formation and essential character. We are a broad and dynamic blend of ethnic groups, religions, traditions, and cultures. Yet, our bonds are intangible yet strong, invisible yet universal.
“We are joined by a common thirst for peace and progress, by the common dream of prosperity and harmony, and by the unifying ideals of tolerance and justice.
“Forging a nation based on the fair application of these noble principles to a diverse population has been a task of significant blessing but also a serial challenge.
“Some people have said an independent Nigeria should never have come into existence. Some have said that our country would be torn apart. They are forever mistaken. Here, our nation stands, and here we shall remain.
“This year, we passed a significant milestone in our journey to a better Nigeria. By democratically electing a 7th consecutive civilian government, Nigeria has proven that commitment to democracy and the rule of law remains our guiding light.
“At my inauguration, I made important promises about how I would govern this great nation. Among those promises were pledges to reshape and modernize our economy and to secure the lives, liberty, and property of the people.
“I said that bold reforms were necessary to place our nation on the path of prosperity and growth. On that occasion, I announced the end of the fuel subsidy. I am attuned to the hardships that have come. I have a heart that feels and eyes that see. I wish to explain to you why we must endure this trying moment.
“Those who sought to perpetuate the fuel subsidy and broken foreign exchange policies are people who would build their family mansion in the middle of a swamp.
“I am different. I am not a man to erect our national home on a foundation of mud. To endure, our home must be constructed on safe and pleasant ground.
“Reform may be painful, but it is what greatness and the future require. We now carry the costs of reaching a future in Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty, and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever-fading past.
“There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future.
“My government is doing all that it can to ease the load. I will now outline the path we are taking to relieve the stress on our families and households.
“We have embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilize the economy, direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation, encourage production, ensure the security of lives and property, and lend more support to the poor and the vulnerable.
“Based on our talks with labour, business, and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation. For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month.
“To ensure better grassroots development, we set up an Infrastructure Support Fund for states to invest in critical areas. States have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.
“Making the economy more robust by lowering transport costs will be key. In this regard, we have opened a new chapter in public transportation through the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses across the nation. These buses will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares.
“New CNG conversion kits will start coming in very soon as all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process. We are also setting up training facilities and workshops across the nation to train and provide new opportunities for transport operators and entrepreneurs.
“This is a groundbreaking moment where, as a nation, we embrace more efficient means to power our economy. In making this change, we also make history.
“I pledged a thorough housecleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway. A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted. Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy.
“Wise tax policy is essential to economic fairness and development. I have inaugurated a Committee on Tax Reforms to improve the efficiency of tax administration in the country and address fiscal policies that are unfair or hinder the business environment and slow our growth.
“To boost employment and urban incomes, we are providing investment funding for enterprises with great potential. Similarly, we are increasing investment in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
“Commencing this month, the social safety net is being extended through the expansion of cash transfer programs to an additional 15 million vulnerable households.
“My administration shall always accord the highest priority to the safety of the people. Inter-Service collaboration and intelligence sharing have been enhanced. Our Service Chiefs have been tasked with the vital responsibility of rebuilding the capacities of our security services.
“Here, I salute and commend our gallant security forces for keeping us safe and securing our territorial integrity. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We remember them today and their families. We shall equip our forces with the ways and means needed to perform their urgent task on behalf of the people,
“We shall continue to make key appointments in line with the provisions of the Constitution and with fairness toward all. Women, Youth, and the physically challenged shall continue to be given due regard in these appointments.
“May I take this opportunity to congratulate the National Assembly for its role in the quick take-off of this administration through the performance of its constitutional duties of confirmation and oversight?
“I similarly congratulate the judiciary as a pillar of democracy and fairness.
“I also thank members of our dynamic civil society organizations and labour unions for their dedication to Nigerian democracy. We may not always agree but I value your advice and recommendations. You are my brothers and sisters and you have my due respect.
“Fellow compatriots, the journey ahead will not be navigated by fear or hatred. We can only achieve a better Nigeria through courage, compassion and commitment as one indivisible unit.
“I promise that I shall remain committed and serve faithfully. I also invite all to join this enterprise to remake our beloved nation into its better self. We can do it. We must do it. We shall do it.!!!
“I wish you all a happy 63rd Independence Anniversary. Thank you for listening. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Nigeria@63: Ganduje urges Nigerians to sustain faith in Tinubu
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Ganduje, has urged Nigerians not to despair, reassuring them that President Bola Tinubu will deliver the good governance and dividends of democracy he promised.
This was contained in the goodwill message issued in Abuja by his Chief Press Secretary, Edwin Olofu, to celebrate the nation’s 63rd Independence anniversary.
The development is coming barely 24 hours after Ganduje appointed the immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, as chairman of a nine-man committee to intervene in the lingering feud between Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
In his goodwill message on Saturday, the APC national chairman called on the citizenry to remain hopeful, adding that measures already put in place by the APC-led administration would reposition the country to achieve growth and development.
He said, “Without a doubt, you will agree with me that the journey has not been without obstacles. It has been characterised by opportunities, prospects and challenges including a three-year civil war which has brought out the resilient Nigerian spirit of perseverance, industry and abiding faith in the country.
“As a party, let me restate that the APC will remain true to its promises and pledges to the people. None of these promises I repeat, will escape our attention and none will be treated lightly. The present administration led by President Bola Tinubu is ready to live up to the Renewed Hope manifesto to reposition Nigeria towards sustainable growth, development and economic prosperity.
“Fortunately he has hit the ground running to fix the infrastructural and economic reversals of the previous years. Under this administration, Nigerians can be rest assured that it will be fine again and your worries will soon be a thing of the past.
“There will be sufficient jobs with decent wages, medicare, housing and other basic infrastructure that can guarantee the citizenry a better life. At this juncture, let me recognise and appreciate the immeasurable contributions, efforts, sacrifices and patriotism of our founding fathers, their vision, courage and perseverance laid the foundation for the emergence of this great and inspiring nation called Nigeria.”
JUST IN: Police grill Sam Larry, Lagos CP to address press
The Lagos State Police Command has deepened its probe of Lagos socialite, Balogun Eletu aka Sam Larry, over the ongoing investigation into circumstances leading to the death of late Singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba aka Mohbad.
Sam Larry was detained by the police on Thursday night after he honoured the police invitation, and has since been grilled by police investigators over his disagreements with the late musician.
Our correspondent gathered that the suspect who is currently detained at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters and was yet to hire the services of a lawyer over the incident as of Saturday, is very much likely to remain in police custody until next week Monday.
A security source who preferred anonymity also revealed that police officers arrested Sam Larry at the Murtala Muhammed Airport on Thursday night following his arrival from Kenya.
“Sam Larry was arrested by policemen at the Murtala Muhammed airport last night (Thursday) after he arrived from Kenya, and he was immediately driven to the Lagos Command Headquarters in Ikeja for questioning,” the source noted.
Speaking with our correspondent in an exclusive interview, Friday night, the Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin revealed that the outcome of the police investigation would determine the decision to be taken on Sam Larry.
The police spokesman further noted that he could not reveal details of the controversial socialite’s statement to the police, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa will address the press about the development soon.
Hundeyin revealed, “Sam Larry is still with us. But I’m not talking about our plans yet because he’s still under investigation, hence the outcome of our investigation will determine the lifeline of our next move.
“I’m not disclosing the content of his statement yet; the Commissioner of Police will address the press over the development soon, and when the CP addresses the press, I’d be able to talk about our investigation so far.”
Earlier Thursday night, SP Hundeyin had revealed that Sam Larry was held in police custody, and was assisting with an ongoing investigation.
The police had earlier invited Sam Larry and singer, Azeez Fashola aka Naira Marley for questioning over Mohbad’s demise.
The police, last week, also confirmed that pathologists have concluded the autopsy conducted on Mohbad, while the police await the result.
“Autopsy has been concluded. Awaiting results”, Hundeyin confirmed.
This development followed the exhumation of Mohbad by a combined team of the Nigeria Police Force and health officials.
The police had also arrested the nurse who reportedly injected the deceased singer prior to his demise on Tuesday, September 12.
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