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Bayelsa sues Agip over oil spill, claims N1.6trn damage

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The Bayelsa State Government has dragged Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited to a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over an oil spillage from the company’s SBM Sirius (offshore Brass) in Brass Local Government Area of the state.

The government in an originating summons, filed by the Bayelsa State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Kemeasuode Wodu, and obtained by journalists on Friday in Yenagoa, demanded N1.6 trillion compensation for general and exemplary damages from the spill, which occurred on November 27, 2013.

The originating summons, which is pursuant to Order 3 Rule 9 of the court, said the spill contravened the provisions of Regulation 13 of the Petroleum Regulation made pursuant to the Pursuant Act Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

The Bayelsa State Government in the suit is seeking an injunction restraining the defendant, its agents and or servants from further discharging onto or allowing petroleum (crude oil) to escape onto the waters of and around the said SBM Sirius, (Offshore Brass) facility.

Another relief include an order directing the defendant to provide potable drinking water for the communities in Bayelsa State impacted by the said petroleum spillage from the said SBM Sirius (offshore Brass) operated by the defendant.

The plaintiff added that the defendant should be ordered to take all appropriate steps towards restoring the land, swamps, rivers and waters impacted by the spillage and pay compensation to all persons whose properties were destroyed.

While averring that the spillage contravened relevant sections of the constitution, the plaintiff asked the court to declare that the action or conduct of the defendant in allowing or causing petroleum to escape from its SMB Sirius facility was as a result of its operational error into the waters of and around the said SMB facility, which flowed into the sea and parts of Bayelsa State.

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The plaintiff also demanded a declaration that the defendant by allowing or causing petroleum to escape from its SBM Sirius facility as a result of its operational error, into the waters of around the said SBM Sirius facility contravened Regulation 13 of the Petroleum Act Cap P10 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The Bayelsa State Government also wants the court to declare that “the defendant is under a legal obligation to restore the lands, rivers, creeks and the entire environment impacted by the aforesaid petroleum (crude oil) that escaped from the SBM Sirius (offshore brass) facility on November 27, 2013 to their original state before they were impacted”.

The plaintiff also asked the court to declare that the defendant was under a legal obligation to pay compensation to all persons whose properties were polluted in Bayelsa State by the said petroleum (crude oil) that escaped from the SBM Sirius facility.

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