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$62bn Debt: Falana Asks Malami To Enforce Court Judgment Against Oil Companies 

Falana & Malami

October 11, (THEWILL) – A rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has asked the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF),  Abubakar Malami (SAN) to recover the sum of $62 billion debt owed by six international oil companies.

Falana, in a letter titled, ‘Request for Compliance with Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Suit no SC. 964/2016 Between Akwa Ibom and 2 others Vs. Attorney General of the Federation’, said the Supreme Court in 2018 had ordered the federal government to immediately recover the debt.

In the letter, he accused the federal government of an unwillingness to enforce the ruling of the apex court.

The letter, dated October 8, 2021, reads:  “We are Solicitors to Professor Omotoye Olorode and Jaye Gaskia of the People’s Alternative Political Movement (PAPM) on whose behalf we write this letter.

“Our clients have instructed us to remind you that the Federal Government has not enforced the above-mentioned Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered on October 20, 2018.

“In the said Judgment the apex court had directed the Federal Government to immediately take steps to recover all revenues lost to oil-exploring and exploiting companies due to wrong profit-sharing formula since August 2003.

“Based on the aforesaid Judgment, you did request for the immediate payment of the sum of $62 billion owed by the six international oil companies with joint operating agreements with the NNPC namely Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Agip Oil Company, TotalElf Nigeria and Pan Ocean Oil Company.

“But to the utter dismay of our clients, Mr. Diepere Silva, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources publicly stated that ‘Well, we have started discussions. Let us consider that as a lost opportunity, the money was not in a cupboard, they have taken it.

“Nobody can bring out that kind of money, I mean we can’t get $62billion. We can maybe get something from them but not $62billion. It’s an opportunity we have lost. We have already started discussions with them but what is clear is that it is a lost opportunity really.

“In view of the foregoing, we have the instructions of our client to request you to use your good offices to ensure that the said sum of $62 billion is recovered from the International Oil Companies and paid into the Federation Account without any further delay.”

Falana said his clients will be forced to approach the Federal High Court to seek a compelling order if the AGF fails or refuses to enforce the Supreme Court’s judgement.