The Supreme Court of Nigeria has ordered all parties to maintain status quo in the matter of an appeal brought before it over the N800 billion judgement debt awarded to Egbalor, Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State against international oil company Shell, as the apex court adjourned the appeal brought by lawyers to the IOC to November 3, 2022.
In a ruling read by Justice Kudirat Motonmori, the panel of justices simply said, “The pending applications are contentious and cannot be taken today. They are adjourned to 3/11/2022 for hearing. The parties shall file written addresses.
“The parties are hereby ordered to maintain the status quo pending the hearing of the said applications.”
Legal experts say the ruling means that all parties involved in the matter are to not do anything that is likely to affect the case until the matter has been heard by the apex court.
“The implication of this ruling is that Shell cannot receive bids from any prospective investors for its onshore and shallow offshore assets until suit is determined, following a restraining order earlier granted by the Court of Appeal, Owerri restraining the sale of such assets,” said one legal expert.
The judgement debt, which Shell is appealing against, was given against Nigeria based Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), and its parent companies, Shell International United Kingdom and Shell International Exploration and Production BV (SIE&P), Netherlands.
They got into trouble over Shell operations when the international oil company was sued for an oil spill that occurred on swamp farmlands in Egbalor, Ebubu, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State. The judgement against SPDC and its parent companies in the UK and Netherlands was obtained by some 88 persons in November 2020 over spillage on their fishing facilities in Ejalawa community in Oken-Ogogu swamp farmlands.
Tijani G. Ringim, judge of the Federal High Court, Owerri, Imo State, had in the judgement in 2020 held Shell Nigeria, Shell International Exploration and Production BV (SIE&P) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) liable for the spill and granted the plaintiff the relief in the sum of N800 billion.