‘Femi Asu and Dennis Naku
The Rivers government and Shell Petroleum Development Company are heading into a clash over ownership of Lease of Oil Mines 11 and Kidney Island in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The state government said Wednesday that it has secured the pursuit of its interest in acquiring a 45 per cent stake in OML 11 and Kidney Island.
But the SPDC was quick to reject the alleged takeover of the renal island property by the Rivers state government, describing such a move as premature, saying the matter “is still the subject of ongoing appeals to the Port Harcourt Court of Appeals”.
According to a statement by Governor Kelvin Ebiri’s special media assistant in Port Harcourt on Bidney Island, which was once used as the SPDC’s operational base in Port Harcourt, it now belongs to the River Government according to a purchase certificate entered in the Land Register as no. 6 on page 6 in st. 46.
It was said that the purchase certificate was issued by order of the High Court of the State of Rivers on July 23, 2019 and September 25, 2019, after the purchase of the facility.
In November 2020, the Supreme Court reaffirmed Rivers State Government’s interest in the SPDC for OML 11 and Kidney Island when it dismissed an oil company’s lawsuit that sought to overturn a 2019 ruling against it in favor of the Eyama-Ebubu community.
State Prosecutor and Commissioner for Justice in Rijeka, prof. Zaccheus Adangor, SAN announced this on Wednesday, addressing reporters after the closure of Kidney Island in execution of the judgment of the High Court in Rijeka.
The statement read: “You will recall that sometime in 2017, the residents of Eyama-Ebubu secured a verdict against the SPDC and its subsidiaries in the amount of N57.7 billion for damage to their environment resulting from the Trans-Niger pipeline oil spill.
“Following that judgment, Shell refused to pay the amount of the judgment and thereafter proceeded with enforcement by attributing the movable properties of the SPDC. But they were found to be extremely insufficient to settle the amount of the judgment.
“After that, they (the Eyama-Ebubu community) appealed to the court seeking the court’s permission to annex the SPDC’s real estate, and the court granted the order. Following the approval of that order, a court order followed for the sale of some SPDC assets, including Kidney Island and the acquisition of Shell’s stake in OML 11. ”
Adangor said that following a court order, judicial officials in Rijeka held a public auction and the state government successfully bid to buy Kidney Island and Shell’s interest in OML 11.
But the SPDC has rejected the alleged takeover of the SPDC Joint Venture’s renal island property in Port Harcourt by the Rijeka government in the exercise of rights allegedly acquired through a court auction.
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