Court orders CBN to release Mobil, NNPC N82bn judgment financial obligation to Akwa Ibom communities


A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday granted a garnishee order absolute, mandating the Central Bank of Nigeria to release the sum of N81.9 billion standing to the credit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its joint endeavor partner, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (NNPC), in it’s custody to oil-producing communities in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state.

Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo provided the order in a judgment in a suit instituted by aggrieved oil communities damaged by oil spillage

The Ibeno communities led by Obong Effiong Archianga and 9 others had through their attorneys, Lucius Nwosu, SAN brought an action against NNPC, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and ExxonMobil Corporation looking for about N100 billion settlement for financial losses suffered from oil spillages triggered by the accuseds during expedition.

The oil communities had gone to court to seek redress over oil spillage in the location, which they claimed had actually caused ecological degradation in their communities.

In a judgment on June 21, 2021, Justice Taiwo made an order, granting the expense of N81.9 billion to the complainants, who are now judgement financial institutions.

The court had purchased that the cash be paid within 14 days after which 8 percent interest will be accruable on the primary sum every year.

On December 15, 2021, in a garnishee case, the apex bank had insisted that it needed to get the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation prior to imposing the garnishee judgement.

In a judgement on Monday, Justice Taiwo dismissed the claim of the CBN and ordered it to launch funds belonging to NNPC and Mobil to the tune of N82bn to the judgement creditor.

The court stated it was incorrect for the peak bank to say it needs to get approval from AGF before attaching the judgment financial obligation, firmly insisting the pinnacle bank is not a public officer.

“The January 6, 2022 application for an order nisi is made outright against the apex bank, Justice Taiwo ordered.

Previously, the court had actually dismissed an application challenging the service of garnishee order nisi on the judgement debtor”.

Justice Taiwo noted that the entering into force of the Petroleum Industry Act had altered the name of the judgement debtor.

The court stated the CEO, Directors, employees of NNPC are still those of NNPC Ltd, adding that the NNPC Ltd inherited assets and liabilities of NNPC.

“It follows that the fit identity of the judgement debtor has been understood, and the misnomer will be corrected given that it’s an error of a name.

“Judgment debtor is juristic individual, and the candidate has actually not suffered any oppression upon the error in the name of the candidate.

“Stance of applicant’s counsel is vibrant and technical. The Court has power, suo moto to give change of the name if mistakenly written.

“When a misnomer occurs, it does not vitiate the subject matter if the case.

“The object of the court is to dispense and make findings justice and not to penalize a litigant for a misnomer.

The court included that the judgement lender can enter claims “collectively and severally” against the judgement debtor.

“I discover benefit in the address of the judgment lender, particularly paragraphs 4.14 to 4.18 of his address.

“The application of the judgement debtor dated 24 December 2021 is hereby declined” the court held.