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The Federal Government has been asked by an Abuja Federal High Court to pay the sum of $951 US dollars to the Bayelsa State government being the 13 per cent derivative sum due to it as arrears of revenue and payable .
Delivering judgement in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/175/2012, and filed on February 12, 2021, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that since the Attorney General of the Federetion (AGF) who was listed as the sole defendant had admitted the claims of the Bayelsa state government in the process he filed in reaction to the suit, he has no other option but to award the case to the plaintiff.
The Bayelsa state government had through its lawyer Ken Njemanze (SAN), filed the suit urging the court to compel the Attorney General of the Federation to pay five per cent of $50 billion recovered as additional revenue that accrued to the Nigerian government.
Justice Ekwo held that: “Where the person to whom such demand notice is issued takes no steps, he is deemed to have admitted the claims thereby giving the other person the option of enforcing the claims by the available procedures for enforcement of undisputed claims. That is what has happened in this case.
“I find no material upon which I can grant leave of this court for the defendant to enter a defence or transfer this matter to the general cause list.
“In that case, I also find that the case of the plaintiff remains not only challenged but admitted and therefore must succeed on the merit.
“Judgement is hereby entered on the claims of the plaintiff in this case. This is the order of this court,” Mr Ekwo declared.
In the supporting affidavit that set forth the grounds upon which the plaintiff’s claims were based, the Bayelsa State Attorney General, had urged the court to make the following orders:
“An order directing the defendant (AGF) to pay the sum of $951, 190, 840.00 (Nine Hundred and fifty one million, one hundred and ninety thousand, forty two United States dollars), being the 13% derivative sum due as arrears of revenue and payable to Bayelsa State as assessed, completed and calculated by the Body set up by Honorable Attorney General of the Federation pursuant to paragraph b (iii) (b) of the terms of settlement made by the (consent) judgement of the Court by the Supreme Court in suit No: SC 964/2016 Attorney General of Rivers State and Others Vs Attorney General of the Federation on the 17th day of October, 2018.
“10% post judgement interest at the court rate on the said sum of $951, 190, 840.00 (Nine Hundred and fifty one million, one hundred and ninety thousand, forty two United States dollars), until final liquidation thereof,” among others.
In 2018, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers States government had sued the AGF at the Supreme Court demanding an upward adjustment of the shares of revenues accruing to the Nigerian government whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
The apex court in unanimous verdict delivered in October 2018, by Justice John Okoro, had orderd the Nigerian government to embark on an upward adjustment of the shares of revenues accruing to the states government whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
The three oil producing states from the Niger Delta: Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom, principally had asked the Supreme Court for interpretation of Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act in suit number SC964/2016 filed on their behalf by their lead Counsel, Lucius Nwosu, (SAN).
The particular Section requires the federal government to adjust the shares of the revenue accruable to the federation, whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
According to the Bayelsa State government, the money had accrued from 2003 to 2017.