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UK Court Rules against Nigeria in $5Bn Bonga Oil Spill Case

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British Supreme Court has cleared Shell, petroleum giants, after a 12-year battle with the Nigerian govt over the Bonga field oil spill.

UK Court Rules against Nigeria in $5Bn Bonga Oil Spill Case

The judgment is a fallout of years of litigation between the oil giant, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) and victims of the 2011 Bonga oil spill which affected about 350 communities across the Niger-delta region.

While transporting crude from the company’s Float Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel at the Bonga deep offshore on December 20, 2011, the export line ruptured and spewed about 40,000 barrels (6.4 million litres) of crude oil into the sea.

According to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), SNEPCo incurred a penalty of $5 billion as compensation for the damages done to natural resources and consequential loss of income by the affected shoreline communities.

NOSDRA further confirmed that during the course of the investigation, it was revealed that the oil spill had affected 285,000 persons from 350 communities and satellite villages within the contact area of the spill.

After failing to get SNEPCo to abide by the judgement of the high court in Nigeria, a group of Nigerians who were affected by the spill under the aegis of Oil Spills Victims Vanguard, OSVV, made up of about 27,800 individuals across the affected communities filed a case at the TTC High Court of Justice in London in 2017 on behalf of all the victims of Bonga oil spill.

The group in their prayers, asked the UK court to compel SNEPCo to pay the $5 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian government.

However, while delivering the judgement, the panel of five Supreme Court justices unanimously upheld the ruling of the two lower courts which held that the six-year time frame allowed for taking action on such cases had elapsed before the group presented the case for hearing.

Shell noted that the judgment of the British Supreme Court had ended all litigation in English courts related to the spill.

Therefore we have confidence that we can do business together. To us at NAPET, this partnership is strategic and a welcome development,” he added.

 

 

 

 


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UK Appoints Mark Smithson New Country Director to Lead UK-Nigeria Trade and Investment Relations

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UK has appointed Mr. Mark Smithson the Country Director for the UK’s Department for Business and Trade (DBT) in Nigeria. He takes over from Chim Chalemera who recently concluded a 3-year posting in that role.

Mark Smithson, UK’s Country Director, Department for Business and Trade (DBT)

Mark is an experienced civil servant having undertaken a wide variety of roles both in the UK and overseas. In this new role, he will lead on the UK-Nigeria’s trade and investment relations to deliver an increased high value inward investment and greater exports into the UK and Nigeria as well as support market access and trade policy priorities.

To mark his arrival to Nigeria, Mark said: “Nigeria is a country of huge importance to the UK and the world. Our historical, cultural, people to people and business ties are deep and ever growing.

“I am delighted to take up this new role as the DBT’s country director and I look forward to forging partnerships with the Nigerian government, the private sector and the UK supply chain and to seize the opportunities this great country and our unique partnership offer to deliver a more prosperous future to both our countries.”

Prior to Mark’s arrival to Nigeria, he was based in London (2021-2024) where he led the DBT’s Capital Investment agenda first covering European and US large corporates and since September 2022 as His Majesties Government’s global account manager for large institutional investors from Southeast Asia with a focus on Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Mark headed up the Consular Section at the British Consulate General in Barcelona, Spain, between 2007 and 2013. During his time in Spain, Mark dealt with many high-profile consular cases and sporting events.

In 2013 he transferred to the US to head up of Consular services covering Florida, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico from the British Consulate General in Miami where Mark oversaw an extensive outreach programme with US government agencies and dealt with several crisis including deployments as Rapid Deployment Team leader.

He transferred to Atlanta, USA in 2017, to lead on the UK’s Tech & creative Trade and Investment agenda covering the southeast of the USA before transferring to Bangkok in 2018 where he served till 2021 to lead the team in Thailand to drive forward an increase in exports and investment and lay the ground for the UK-Thailand Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO).

Mark is married to Patima who is Thai, and they have a 3-year-old toddler.


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President Tinubu asks National Assembly to increase 2024 budget by N6.2trn

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President Bola Tinubu has requested the National Assembly to consider a N6.2 trillion increase in the 2024 appropriation act.

The President expressed his request in a letter that was read aloud by Senate President Godswill Akpabio during its plenary session on Wednesday, July 17.

This adjustment raises the 2024 budget to N34.9 trillion, up from the original N28.7 trillion budget that Tinubu approved on January 1st.

Tinubu is advocating for a budget revision that allocates N3.2 trillion for infrastructure initiatives and N3 trillion for ongoing expenses.

The president said; “Pursuant to section 58 (2) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended, I forward herewith the above named bills for consideration and passage by the senate,

“The appropriation act amendment bill seeks to amend the principal act to provide the sum of N3,200,000,000,000 for Renewed Hope Infrastructure Projects and other critical infrastructure projects to be undertaken across the country and the sum of N3,000,000,000,000 to meet further recurrent expenditure requirements necessary for the prosper operation of the federal government.

“They shall be funded by accruing to the federal government of Nigeria.

“Furthermore, the proposed amendments to the Finance Acts 2023 are required to a one-time windfall tax on the foreign exchange gains realised by banks in their 2023 financial statements to fund capital infrastructure development, education, and healthcare as well as welfare initiatives all which are components of the Renewed Hope Agenda,”


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President Tinubu appoints Walson-Jack as new Head of Service

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Didi Esther Walson-Jack as Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

Mrs. Walson-Jack

The appointment was disclosed in a statement released by Presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale on Wednesday July 17, and will take effect from August 14, 2024.

“Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several Ministries.

“The new appointee will take over from the incumbent Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, who is due to retire on August 13, 2024,” Ngelale said in a statement.

President Tinubu, who thanked the outgoing Head of Service for her stewardship, tasked the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation.


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