The Rivers State Government says it has secured the enforcement of her interest in the acquisition of 45 percent equity stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11 and Kidney Island in Port Harcourt.
It said that the Island which was once used as Shell Petroleum Development Company operational base in Port Harcourt, now belongs to the Rivers State Government pursuant to a certificate of purchase registered in the Lands Registry as No. 6 at page 6 in Vol. 46, Port Harcourt.
According to the state government, the certificate of purchase was issued by the order of the High Court of Rivers State on July 23, 2019 and September 25, 2019 following the purchase of the facility.
The Supreme Court had on November 2020 reaffirmed Rivers State Government acquisition of SPDC interest in OML 11 and Kidney Island when it dismissed the oil firm suit which sought to set aside the judgment made against it in 2019 in favour of Ejama-Ebubu community.
The Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zaccheus Adangor, while addressing journalists after sealing off Kidney Island in execution of the judgement of Rivers State High Court on Wednesday, “You will recalled that sometime in 2017, the people of Ejama-Ebubu secured judgement against SPDC and its subsidiaries in the sum of N57.7Billion Naira for the damages done to their environment arising from the oil spill from the Trans-Niger pipeline.
“After that judgement, Shell refused to pay the judgement sum and thereafter proceeded to levy execution by attaching the moveable properties of SPDC. But those were found to be grossly insufficient to settle the judgement sum.
“Subsequently, they (Ejama-Ebubu community) approached the court to seek the leave of the court to attach the immovable properties of SPDC and the court granted them that order. Following the grant of that order, there was a court order for sell of some of the properties of SPDC including Kidney Island and the acquisition of Shell interest in OML 11.”
Professor Adangor said after the court order, a public auction was held by the officers of the Rivers State Judiciary and the State Government bided successfully for the purchase of Kidney Island and Shell interest in OML 11.
“So we are here to execute the judgement of the High Court of Rivers State and secure the enforcement of the interest acquired by the Rivers State Government.”
The Attorney General stated that the Rivers State Government successfully executed the enforcement as Shell in all fairness did not resist the enforcement.
“It was lawfully purchased through public auction ordered by the court pursuant to a court judgement, hence everything went in accordance with the due process of the law.
“The Rivers State Government successfully executed the enforcement and in fairness to Shell, there was no resistance during the exercise.”
“I was on ground to ensure that everything was done smoothly and in accordance with the law.”
Also speaking, a representative of the office of the Deputy Sheriff, High Court, Port Harcourt, Mr. Livinus Akere said the exercise was to take vacant possession of Kidney Island auctioned on the 13 August, 2019 and OML 11 in Ejama Community of Eleme Local Government Area.
Recall that in September 2019, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had announced the acquisition of SPDC 45% interest in OML 11 oilfields and Kidney Island in the State.
The governor following a court order to auction SPDC assets in the suit against Ejama-Ebubu community, had directed the Rivers State Ministry of Finance Incorporated to make a bid of USD 150,000,0900.00 supported by a Bank Guarantee and cash payment to the Deputy Sheriff in the sum of N1 billion, the later payable to the Judgement Creditors while the former is escrowed.