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THISDAY ONLINE: Court Orders Shell to Pay N6.1bn to Landowners

From Ahamefula Ogbu in Port Harcourt, 06.04.2007
 
A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company to forfeit its occupancy of their residential area on Aba Road covering 153.5 acres or in the alternative, pay N6.1 billion to Rumuokroshe people of Obio/Akpor Local Government area of the State.

The order of the court followed the challenge of SPDC by Ojiowhor Monday Amadi and 13 others suing on behalf of Rumuecheta-Mgbuesilari family of Rumukoroshe and Chief Luke Ihunwo and 14 other as well as Chief Emmanuel Azubuike and two others of the same village as co-claimants where they alleged that the oil giant surreptitiously took over their land without their consent.

SPDC was proved to have entered into a lease with the claimants who sued on behalf of others in representative capacity on March 3, 1958 entered into a lease agreement with the company where they were to pay two pounds  and six pence per annum while the lease was to last for 99 years.

There was a clause in their agreement for a review of the tenancy after 50 years but before then, the company without the knowledge of the landlords, applied to the Rivers State government under Samuel Ewang and on March 15, 1999, got a certificate of occupancy even during the pendency of the lease agreement.

The development which was supposed to extinguish the rights of the owners of the land was therefore challenged through their counsel, Chief Lucius Nwosu (SAN) who contended that there were nor due procedure observed in the said granting of the certificate of occupancy.

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=80009

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