By Emem Idio
YENAGOA—A Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Sagbama, has ordered Nigerian Agip Oil Company, to pay over N1.2 billion to the families of 17 persons killed in Akamabubou and Tugogbene communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state between 1999 and 2000.
Trial judge in the matter is Justice E. G. Omukoro.
It will be recalled that eight of the deceased persons from Akamabubou community and another nine from Tugogbene community were among the youths from the two communities who protested over an oil spillage from Agip pipelines by intercepting the company’s sea truck which led to the dispatch of military men stationed at Agip facility, who shot and killed 17 members of the two communities.
The incident which happened between 1999 and 2000, also led to the maiming of other indigenes and destruction of four classroom buildings in the communities’ schools.
Relatives of the deceased persons in the two communities, represented by Mr Sunny Adolor, dragged Agip to court in two separate suits, No SHC/MSC/21M/2017 and Suit No/SHC/MSC/22M/2017, where they jointly demanded N8 billion reliefs “for unlawful and wrongful invasion and destruction of their homes and compensation to the legal heirs and next of kins of the 17 deceased persons.”
They urged the court to order Agip to pay 10 percent post judgment interest monthly until full payment and liquidation of the judgment sum.
In his judgment, Justice Omukoro held that the killing of the 17 persons was “arbitrary and unconstitutional,” and granted the relief of N50 million each for each of the 17 deceased persons, totaling N850 million and another N415 million for the destroyed communities’ schools and other damages.
He also awarded N100, 000, as cost to be paid to the plaintiffs in the two communities and granted another relief ordering Agip to pay 10 percent interest monthly until full liquidation.