The Federal High Court in Lagos today, November 17, 2021, decided the suit involving The Registered Trustees of AIBOM Oil Producing Development Community and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.
The Registered Trustees of AIBOM Oil Producing Community Development Network & 4 others (Plaintiffs) had claimed against Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited the sum of ₦41,278,502,064 (Forty-One Billion, Two Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million, Five Hundred and Two Thousand, Sixty-Four Naira) as special damages and ₦20,000,000,000 (Twenty Billion Naira) as general damages for an oil spill that allegedly occurred in 2014.
Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited in response to the suit of AIBOM Oil Producing Community Development Network had filed an objection to the Jurisdiction of the Court, essentially asking the Court to strike out the suit on the ground, amongst others, that the AIBOM Oil Producing Community Development Network did not meet the requirements for the commencement of the suit in a representative capacity.
Counsel to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, O.A. Okafor, Esq. leading Tobi Fagbemi, Esq. and Sonia Onyia, Esq. of Kenna Partners, in arguing the objection on October 8, 2021 had urged the Court to uphold Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited’s contention that the eighty-three (83) cooperative bodies on whose behalf AIBOM Oil Producing Community Development Network claimed to be acting were not members of AIBOM Oil Producing Community Development Network and as such there was no common interest or damage suffered.
In its Ruling, the learned trial judge, Justice I. N. Oweibo agreed with the submissions made by O.A. Okafor, Esq. of Kenna Partners and held that indeed AIBOM Oil Producing Community Development Network was not a member of the class that had allegedly suffered damage resulting from the alleged oil spill, and accordingly granted Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited’s application to strike out the suit, particularly on the ground that the Plaintiffs did not meet the requirements for the commencement of a Representative action, under extant laws. Oladimeji Olabode, Esq of D.A. Awosika & Partners was counsel to the Plaintiffs in this matter.