Court Orders Nigerian Govt to pay Rivers, Akwa Ibom ₦1.4 trillion ($3B)

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Federal Government to pay a cumulative sum of over $3 billion (about N1.4 trillion) to Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.

The amount stands as shares of the two states from $62 billion crude oil sales said to have been recovered from some oil companies.

In the judgment delivered on Tuesday, Justice Taiwo ordered the federal government to pay Rivers $1.114.551.610 and another $2.258.411.586 being the amount separately claimed against the federal government as their shares from $62 billion.

The plaintiffs in the suit are the Attorney General of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states while the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice is the sole defendant.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Taiwo held that the federal government admitted the claims of the two states by its refusal to defend the case when served with the court papers.

Justice Taiwo said the mere notice of intention to defend the case without joining issues with the plaintiffs was not enough in any court matter.

By refusing to debunk or controvert the claims of the two states, the Judge held that the federal government had legally admitted that all the averments and claims of plaintiffs be true.

Justice Taiwo further held that the suit of the two states was founded on the Supreme Court on how proceeds from crude oil sales should be shared, adding that the claim of the two states on the recovery of additional $62 billion was never controverted by the defendant despite several correspondences, hence the law deems the claims as the truth.

The court rejected the assertion of the federal government that it cannot pay any money it did not receive from the oil company, adding that the defendant ought to have filed a bona-fide defence to explain its position in court as required by law.

“By not filling a defence to the claims of the two plaintiffs, I have no option but to hold that the defendant has no defence to the case and I have no discretion than to give judgment in favour of the plaintiffs.

“I hereby order that a sum of $1.114.551.610 be paid to Rivers State and $2.258.414.586 to Akwa Ibom State being their shares from the $62 billion recovered from sales of crude oil.