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Court orders service on oil firm, others over spillage


courtA Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered that all court processes filed in a suit filed against an agency of the Federal Government, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency,(NOSDRA) by a musician, Dr. Tee Mac Iseli Omatshola be served on all the defendants.

Joined as co-defendants in the legal battle, are Federal Ministry of Environment, an Oil magnate, Peter Dunia, an environmentalist Francis Amoma Monday and a limited liability company, Gbutse Property Limited.

The order of the court was sequel to an application filed and argued before the court on behalf of Dr. Tee Mac by his counsel, Dada Awosika.

In an affidavit sworn to by Dr. Tee Mac, he averred that on the 20th of December, 2011, there was an oil spill incident which occurred at Bonga Oil Field which was under the control of Shell Nigerian Exploration and production company (SNEPCO) resulting in over 40,000 barrels of crude oil spilling into the marine environment causing utter devastation to marine and human lives.

The spillage was caused by equipment failure resulting from snapped loading holes under water.The spill was alleged to have covered about 185 kilometers along the coast of Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Brass, Warri South and Burutu areas of Delta and Bayelsa states.

In the wake of the spill, aquatic lives were destroyed as fishermen were compelled to desert the sea with farmlands, vegetation and the environment contaminated.

Dr. Tee Mac averred further that on the 22nd of December, 2011, Dunia called him that some of the community leaders affected by the spillage wanted him to represent their interest in a bid to follow due process in seeking redress for the devastation occasioned by the spillage.

He accepted the request to represent the communities and organised press conferences and engaged the services of experts and enlisted the services of Norwegian Government.

He also hired the services of a law firm GMO legal as consultant while a petition was sent to House of Representative as well as NOSDRA and Federal Ministry of Environment for immediate action to be taken.

It was agreed that compensation that would be paid to the affected communities shall be sixty percent to the communities and forty percent shall be earmarked for commissions, Attorneys, consultants and to repay all funds raised by him for the exercise.

He stated further that in order to forestall acrimony, himself, Dunia alongside Francis Amona Monday and Gbutse Property agreed to a new sharing format of the commission payable to the agents.

His own was earmarked 25 percent, Dunia 30 percent, Anoma 20 percent, Legal 20 percent, and the rest for other smaller coordinators.

He averred that they refused to execute any document to that effect, rather they have been deploying means of skimming him out of the commission payable to them.

The house of representative as well as NOSDRA has directed SNEPCO to pay compensation to the affected communities.The judge, Saliu Saidu, has adjourned the matter to February 18, 2016.

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