A Port Harcourt High Court has sentenced the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Osagie Okunbor, and two others to three months in prison with hard labour.

Those sentenced to prison alongside the SPDC boss in contempt proceedings are, Company Secretary and Head of Legal, Nike Oyinlola, as well as Deputy Country Head of Legal/Managing Counsel, Global Litigation, sub-Sahara Africa, Keibi Atemie.

Presiding judge, George Omereji, while delivering judgment in suit No: PHC/1929/218, convicted the Shell officials for disobeying a court order of Justice Margaret Opara of the Rivers State High Court in 2008, asking Shell to forfeit the land where the Bonny Crude Oil Terminal is located. The land is said to belong to the Jumbo Major House and the Brown House of Finima, both in Bonny, Rivers State.

In his ruling on the matter yesterday, Justice Omereji dismissed a motion on notice by counsel to Shell and its three officials seeking to set aside the court order of July 25, 2018 that granted leave to the landlords to serve substituted means of notice of consequence of disobedience of court order in the suit upon the oil firm.

But in its reaction, SPDC denied claims of disobeying any court order, saying it will appeal the judgment. Its spokesperson, Bamidele Odugbesan, said the company has utmost respect for the courts and the laws of the country. Odugbesan also explained that the said 2008 judgement was settled between SPDC and the landlord families of the land in 2014.

Source: The Guardian