The Federal Government has been ordered to pay Bayelsa State Government a total of $951million being the 13 per cent derivative sum due as arrears of revenue and payable to the state.
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja gave the order on Monday in a judgment on a suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/175/2021 filed in the name of the Attorney General of Bayelsa State.
Bayelsa had, in the suit, urged the court to compel the Attorney General of the Federation (listed as the sole defendant) to pay five per cent of the $50billion recovered as additional revenue that accrued to the FG between 2003 and 2007.
Justice Ekwo, in the judgment, found the Attorney General of the Federation, failed to enter his defence in the suit, and held that the plaintiff’s suit was “unchallenged.”
He added: “Where a person issues a letter of demand on another person upon outstanding facts, the person for whom the demand notice was issued must take steps to react to same.
“Where the person to whom such demand notice is issued takes no steps, he is deemed to have admitted the claims thereby giving the other person the option of enforcing the claims by the available procedures for enforcement of undisputed claims. That is what has happened in this case.”
The judge noted that the AGF had admitted the claims of the plaintiff in the defendant’s reaction to the suit.
“I find no material upon which I can grant leave of this court for the defendant to enter a defence or transfer this matter to the general cause list.
“In that case, I also find that the case of the plaintiff remains not only challenged but admitted and therefore must succeed on the merit.
“Judgement is hereby entered on the claims of the plaintiff in this case. This is the order of this court,” the judge said.
Part of the plaintiff’s prayers granted by the court included. “An order directing the defendant (AGF) to pay the sum of $951, 190, 840.00 being the 13 per cent derivative sum due as arrears of revenue and payable to Bayelsa State as assessed, completed and calculated by the body set up by Honorable Attorney General of the Federation pursuant to paragraph b (iii) (b) of the terms of settlement made by the (consent) judgement of the Court by the Supreme Court in suit No: SC 964/2016 Attorney General of Rivers State and Others vs Attorney General of the Federation on the 17th day of October, 2018.
“10 per cent post-judgement interest at the court rate on the said sum of $951, 190, 840.00 until final liquidation thereof.”
Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers States had sued the AGF at the Supreme Court, to request for an upward adjustment of the shares of revenues accruing to the FG whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
They prayed the Supreme Court for interpretation of Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act in suit number SC964/2016 filed on their behalf by their lead Counsel, Lucius Nwosu, (SAN).
The provision requires the FG to adjust the shares of the revenue accruable to the federation, whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment on October 2018, ordered the FG to embark on an upward adjustment of the shares of revenues accruing to the government whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
The Bayelsa government’s suit was meant to further enforce the Supreme Court’s decision.