Court convicts FirstBank chairman, MD for contempt in Shell oil spill case

Court convicts FirstBank chairman, MD for contempt in Shell oil spill case

For not paying the plaintiff the compensation as directed, the Federal High Court in Lagos has convicted First Bank of Nigeria Limited chairman and managing director for contempt of court.

The duo of Mrs. Ibukun Awosika and Dr. Adesola Adeduntan were found guilty of disobeying court orders for not paying N17 billion and interests that the First Bank allegedly guaranteed to pay the community on behalf of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited.

According to Punch Newspaper, The bond is in respect of the judgment debt against SPDC in an oil spill suit filed by the community.

Justice Ibrahim Buba, however, suspended the sentencing for three months to enable the bank and its officials to purge themselves of the contempt.

The judge said if the convicts failed to purge themselves of the contempt by September 6, they would be sent to prison.

Ten indigenes of Ejama community in Ogoniland had sued Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Netherlands; Royal Dutch Shell Plc, United Kingdom; and SPDC at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt over alleged oil spills that occurred when Shell operated in the community.

Justice Buba, who heard the case while sitting in Port Harcourt, awarded N17bn to the community’s representatives in 2010, as well as 25 per cent interest on the principal sum, among other reliefs.

Neither Firstbank nor Royal Dutch Shell has officially commented on the judgment. Shell has however appealed the judgment. First Bank is Nigeria’s largest deposit bank.