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CRUDE OIL TERMINAL LANDLORDS DENY ALLEGED SETTLEMENT BETWEEN SHELL AND BONNY COMMUNITY

By Anderson Hart

Alleged media reports that the Supreme Court has brokered a settlement between Multinational oil giant, Shell and Bonny crude oil export terminal landlords over the company's alleged fraudulent acquisition of a Certificate of Occupancy for the terminal in Rivers State, some Concerned Elders, Chiefs and Citizens of Jumbo Major House of Grand Bonny Kingdom have declared there was no such settlement.

In a statement yesterday signed by, Amasenibo (Wari Senibo) Sinclair Sobere Jumbo, Wari Alabo Adolphus William Jumbo, Benjamin T.Jumbo, and Dagogo A. Jumbo, the elders described the report as misleading and accused Shell of 'desperation to divest us of our interest on and in our land and foment trouble within the Jumbo Major House.'

According to the elders, rather than settle the dispute, the Supreme Court on June 9, this year, dismissed Shell's suit, alleging, 'SPDC refused and neglected to make any genuine attempt to settle the dispute and the matter was not settled.'

They stated that 'contrary to the on-going misinformation of the public, SPDC has technically vacated the Oil Terminal Land and most of the landlords as well as the Bonny Kingdom are gearing up to advertise the Terminal Land and the facilities therein, for lease to another prospector at fair and commercial rates as the judgment of the Trial Court and Court of Appeal remain unassailed and unassailable.'

The statement said: 'Our attention has been drawn to a misleading media campaign, giving the impression that the Supreme Court of Nigeria brokered a truce between the Bonny Kingdom and SPDC on the dispute over the ownership of the Bonny Oil Terminal. As co-landlords on the land accommodating the Bonny Oil Terminal, it is incumbent on us to do this rebuttal and set the records straight as follows: 'That L.F. Nwosu, SAN filed an action on behalf of the Bonny Kingdom, the Jumbo Major House and the Brown House against SPDC over the despicable attempt by the SPDC to steal our land.

'That the High Court of Rivers State presided over by Justice M. O. Opara, gave judgment in our favour, ordering SPDC to vacate the land among other orders. The SPDC appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division and the Appeal was struck out. SPDC further appealed to the Supreme Court.

'That the Supreme Court after looking at the nature of the Appeal, advised parties to settle out of court and Wogu Boms, Esq. - the Attorney General of Rivers State, was appointed to mediate and report to the Supreme Court.'

The elders emphasized that all the parties on record and the lead counsel in the matter, L.E. Nwosu, SAN did not sign any term of settlement to indicate that there was settlement and they did not authorize anybody to sign such document on their behalf.