Lagos - Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday further adjourned delivery of judgment to Thursday, Nov. 29 in a suit filed by a civil society group.
The group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) filed a suit praying for a definite legal pronouncement and accountability for the missing $12.4 billion oil windfall recorded between 1988 and 1994.
Also joined, as defendants, were the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Kolawole, who was supposed to deliver judgment in the suit, said the judgment was not yet ready to be delivered.
``I am sorry that the judgment is not yet ready. I have to give priority to other serious criminal cases which are very important.
``I have a backlog of judgments which are older than this case. I regret the delay.
``My court has been overwhelmed with cases.
``Besides, the AGF, on Monday, filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the suit.
``I will have to look at their arguments and also look at the reply from the plaintiff’s counsel,’’ Kolawole said.
He subsequently adjourned the case to Nov. 29 to deliver final judgment.
It will be recalled that the case, for which re-adoption of written addresses was fixed on March 16, was not heard as the Court did not sit.
The parties re-adopted their final arguments in the suit in September.
The plaintiffs, through their counsel, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) asked the court to grant an order compelling the apex bank and the AGF to publish detailed accounts relating to the spending of the sum.
The group also sought for an order of the Court compelling the respondents to diligently and effectively bring to justice anyone suspected of corruption and mismanagement of the 12.4 billion dollars oil windfall.
The group also wants an order directing the respondents to provide adequate reparation, which may take the form of restitution and compensation.
It further said that the need for information regarding the spending of the $12.4 billion oil windfall was important to promote transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and to fulfil Nigeria's international obligations.
In the suit, the group said that access to information of this nature was especially important.
It further said that the right of access to information was also crucial to the realisation of all other human rights, including the people's right to their wealth and natural resources.’’
In its arguments, the defendants, through their counsel, Francis Nwosu insisted that it could not find the Okigbo report on the spending of the oil windfall.
The defendants argued that because the Okigbo report was not available, it had no duty to render account on the spending of the accrued revenue.
The defendants further argued that only the AGF as a defender of public interest has the right to seek information on the spending of the oil windfall and not SERAP.