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Court orders Commission to suspend investigation of oil spillage

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Site of an oil spillage PHOTO:Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP

Site of an oil spillage PHOTO:Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP

The Federal High Court has ordered the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to suspend its ongoing investigation into oil spillage and environmental pollution in the country pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola gave the order in Abuja on Thursday following when he ruled in an ex-parte motion filed by the National Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC).

NPDC is seeking judicial review of some actions of the commission.

Ademola said that the investigation should be suspended pending the determination of the substantive suit when the commission would be present in court to answer to the issues raised by the NPDC.

The court also asked NPDC to enter into an undertaking to compensate the commission if the order was wrongly made.

Mr Ayotunde Ogunleye, Counsel to NPDC, said that the commission was investigating and taking steps that were considered “quasi judicial” on oil spillage in the country.

He said that his client was of the view that issues relating to oil spillage were within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court exclusively.

The Judge fixed Nov. 14 for both parties to appear in court and make their cases.

The NHRC on Feb. 21 set up a special investigative panel on oil spills and environmental pollution in the country.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, said the committee was set up following the myriad of petitions to the commission on oil spills and environmental pollution.

The panel began its investigation in July in Akwa Ibom.



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