Three oil-producing states of the Niger Delta on Wednesday, got a landmark judgment at the Supreme Court of Nigeria that would substantially boost their revenue from oil production with effect from the date of the judgement.
The verdict was handed down by the Supreme Court yesterday.
The three states: Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom, had approached the Supreme Court for the 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, Mr. Lucius Nwosu, ,SAN.
The particular section required the Federal Government to adjust the shares of the revenue accruable to the Federation whenever the price of crude oil exceeds 20 Dollars per barrel. The judgment delivered by Justice John Okoro mandated the federal government to embark on an upward adjustment of the shares of revenues accruing to the government whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson, celebrated the verdict, which he described as a victory for the littoral states and indeed Nigeria. Dickson said this in a statement by his Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei. According to him, even before the first offshore swamp oil well was discovered under the particular Act by the Nigeria AGIP Energy, the price of crude oil had exceeded $20 per barrel being used as a benchmark to share oil revenues in the state.
He stressed that in spite of the expressed agreement that shares from the oil revenue accruable to the central government should be adjusted, the benchmark being used by the multinational oil firms had been static at $20 per barrel to date.
The governor, who spoke on behalf of his counterparts from Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, said that the judgment demonstrated “the primacy of the law in the socio-economic emancipation of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the instrumentality of the government and people of Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.” He stated that the implication of the judgment was for increased revenues accruable to the states under the extant revenue sharing formula. He lauded the Supreme Court for demonstrating the courage to uphold the rule of law in the landmark verdict. He added that it would rekindle the confidence of the people and communities of the Niger Delta.
He said: “We commend the Supreme Court of Nigeria for upholding the rule of law. The courageous intervention of the apex court in this case and other cases is what is needed to bring confidence to the long-suffering people and communities of the Niger Delta and the country at large.”
“This judgement shows clearly that the judiciary is ready and has the courage in deciding cases to uphold the rights of the oppressed people. We call on other courts in the judicial system to rise to the occasion in order to give the assurance that oil majors and oil block owners operating in our communities will respect the laws of the land.”
The Governor called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the relevant agencies to ensure expeditious implementation of the judgment in the interest of the government and citizens of the country.
Credit – Soni Daniel (The Guardian)