The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday awarded N82 billion (about $200 million) as general damages against the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN) over oil spillage in Ibeno Community in Ibeno Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State in South-eastern Nigeria.Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who delivered the judgment, ordered the oil corporations to pay the money within 14 days, or pay eight percent of the sum, per annum.
According to local media reports, Justice Taiwo had earlier struck out ExxonMobil from the list of defendants, on account of the company being an American registered company, leaving the NNPC and Mobil producing Nigeria Unlimited.
The reports added that the court held that the oral and documentary evidence produced by Mobil, was not helpful in their case, describing them as serving pre-determined assets.
The judge described the action of Mobil is a clear violation of section 11 of the oil pipeline act that makes it mandatory for the oil companies to monitor and fix defective pipelines.
However, it is not yet certain if the two oil companies will appeal against the judgment of the High Court.