The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the federal government to pay the sum of $951 US dollars to the Bayelsa State government being the 13 per cent derivative sum due to it as arrears of revenue and payable .
Bayelsa state government had through its lawyer Ken Njemanze (SAN), filed the suit urging the court to compel the Attorney General of the Federation, who was the sole defendant in the matter to pay five per cent of $50 billion recovered as additional revenue that accrued to the Nigerian government.
Delivering judgment on the matter on Monday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the Attorney General of the Federation, failed to enter his defence in the suit, prompting the court to declare the plaintiff’s case “unchanged.”
Mr Ekwo said 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 held.
In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/175/2012, and filed on February 12, 2021, the court said the defendant (AGF) had admitted the claims of the Bayelsa state government in the process the former filed in 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,” Mr Ekwo declared.
In the supporting affidavit that set forth the grounds upon which the plaintiff’s claims were based, the Bayelsa State Attorney General, had urged the court to make the following orders:
“An order directing the defendant (AGF) to pay the sum of $951, 190, 840.00 (Nine Hundred and fifty one million, one hundred and ninety thousand, forty two United States dollars), being the 13% 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% post judgement interest at the court rate on the said sum of $951, 190, 840.00 (Nine Hundred and fifty one million, one hundred and ninety thousand, forty two United States dollars), until final liquidation thereof,” among others.
Recall that Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers States government had sued the AGF at the Supreme Court,in 2018 demanding an upward adjustment of the shares of revenues accruing to the Nigerian government whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.