The Supreme Court has dismissed an application by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), asking it to review its judgment of January 11, 2019, that ordered Shell to pay N17 billion to Ogoni communities in Rivers State.
Many Ogoni communities were affected by an oil spill caused by the SPDC in 1970.
A five-member panel of justices on Friday in Abuja dismissed the application on the grounds that it had no merit since the court had decided on the appeal and the court could not reverse itself.
The judgment prepared by Justice Centus Nweze and read by Justice Chukwudumebi Oseji held that the application had no merit.
Recall that the Supreme Court had issued the N17 billion order in favour of Ejama-Ebubu in Tai Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Counsel to the communities, Mr Lucius Nwosu, told newsmen that the judgment sum, with interest accrued over the last 31 years was about N182 billion.
Nwosu had in September, at the hearing of the application, prayed the apex court to not only dismiss the application but to also punish all the senior lawyers in Shell’s legal team for filing the judgement review application.
He said that the application was an attempt to ridicule the integrity and finality of the decisions of the apex court.
Nwosu said the previous litigation lasted over 30 years before the N17 billion damages were awarded against Shell by the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, one of the parties in the suit, King George Osaro, a community leader, told newsmen that people of his community were overwhelmed with joy that the matter would finally be put to rest.
“We are really overwhelmed by the decision of the Supreme Court today because this will bring this whole Shell drama to an end,” George said.
“We feel vindicated from all the suffering the company has put us through. We advise Shell to retrace its steps and do what is right.”