Court Slams Agip For Entering Rivers Farmland Without Consent

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The Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt has ordered the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to pay 15 per cent of its interest on Mgbede-5 flowline in Mgbede to Oseugboloro village in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state.

The court also directed Agip to pay the N5million forthwith as exemplary damages for entering the claimants’ farmland without going through the families and for the inconveniences caused the village.
The court ruled on a suit filed by Princewill Ejekwe and Maxin Ejekwe as first and second claimants on behalf of themselves, their immediate family and Oseugboloro village in Mgbede clan claiming the lawful ownership of Oseugboloro farmland where the defendant’s (Agip) flowline is situated.
The claimants prayed a declaration that they are lawful owners of Oseugboloro farmland and that entering the area by Agip without their consent was unlawful.
They wanted the court to declare that the family was entitled to payments of benefits of the said land and a perpetual injunction stopping Agip from paying compensation of the land to any other except them.
The claimants also prayed the court for adequate compensation to them by Agip for the unlawful entry of their farmland and that N750,000 charge be paid to them for prosecuting the action.

The claimants further sought the court to order Agip to pay N5,000,000.00 as exemplary damages for the use of their farmland without consent and as compensation for the pain they incurred in prosecuting the matter as well as a declaration that 21% equity of the company on the operation on the affected facility be paid per annum.

The presiding judge, Justice G.C Aguma, in his judgment on Tuesday granted all the six reliefs sought by the claimants, ordering Agip to pay the N5,000,000.00 compensation forthwith.

Aguma said the claimants were able to prove their case that the said landed property where Agip operated belonged to them, adding that the firm operated without consulting the land owners.

He ordered Agip to pay benefits accruing from the use of the landed property to the claimants only and mandated Agip to pay N5m as damages for entering the land.

Aguma further ordered Agip to pay 15 per cent interest on its operation on the flowline per annum to the family.

(Nation)

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