In the last seven years, various courts have awarded the sum of N836.318bn (N98.318 billion and over $1.8billion) to oil-producing communities in Niger Delta as compensations for oil spills and land encroachment, independent data seen by Daily Trust on Sunday indicated.
Some of the court’s decisions are however being challenged at the appellate level.
Since the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in Oloibiri community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in 1956 and its subsequent extraction in 1958, complaints and struggle of host communities in the region have largely hinged on environmental pollution, occasioned by oil spills and gas flaring.
These host communities have battled multinational oil companies operating in their areas for compensation and cleanup, a situation that led to many legal battles. Some of these legal tussles end up with the award of billions of naira as compensation to the communities.
In 2014, a High Court awarded N205.60 million to the Okia community in Delta State, while Obotobo, Sokebolo, Ofogbene, and Ekeromor Zion communities were awarded N30.2 million on August 14, 2015, by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
In 2018, other communities, numbering 350 were also awarded $1.8 billion by a High Court.
In Rivers State, Mr. Ken Ojiri was awarded N82.7 million for land encroachment on October 4, 2018.
Also, Ejama Ebubu communities in Tai Elema Local Government Area of Rivers State were awarded N17 billion on November 1, 2019, by the Supreme Court.
The latest was Ibeno community in Akwa-Ibom State, which was awarded N81.9 billion on June 21, 2021.